If you’re reading this as a NMU (Nelson Mandela University) Student, then you’ll know that building 8 is the student-name for the Library on South Campus; however, it’s also where the Department of Architecture made it’s nest in 2004 as a temporary dwelling. The department never moved from their ‘temporary’ house and is still today part of the actual South Campus library.
During the first years of your university career in this building it’s almost too easy to hate it, this back-entrance building with little-to-no maintenance within, this building that holds you in it’s clutches, tightening the grapple every week. Then before you know it, it becomes natural to be in the building every day (this is no exaggeration) – you start enjoying the pressure just a little bit, it keeps you on your toes and scares you if you’re not careful. I suspect that it’s the same reason why people enjoy horror movies too – you know you’ll get a fright; you do get a fright but still act surprised; then you decide to continue watching.
I have to confess at this point that finding the department is not as simple as telling someone, “You know building 8? That’s where we are”. The entrance shies away from the main pedestrian movement, almost ironic if you think about architecture as this philosophy of making structures and buildings to be seen; stand out. This is one of the reasons why I love this building – it’s the ‘badass’ notion of nonconformity, which is what architecture is all about (this is also debatable). As students in this department, it’s little (seemingly unimportant) elements such as this which binds us to this building. It becomes our home and place of refuge hidden in plain sight that brings one word to mind – sacrosanct.
The red VW Fox 1987 belongs to one of my fellow B.Tech classmates – a paradigm picture (taken at 06:45 after an all-nighter) to summarise the devotion to this building and course.