Dr Finzi Saidi

Dr. Finzi E. Saidi currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Architecture and Unit 15(X) research leader in GSA at the University of Johannesburg. I served as appointed Acting Head of the Graduate School of Architecture in 2020. I hold a PhD in Architecture from the University of Pretoria, masters of Landscape Design from the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne University and a bachelor of architecture degree from the Copperbelt University in Zambia. I have taught in four universities – Copperbelt University, University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town and University of Johannesburg.

My research in interests are in developing responsive curriculum and pedagogy in architecture and landscape architecture. This is research is underpinned by my PhD studies entitled” Title Developing a Curriculum Model For Architectural Education In A Culturally Changing South Africa”. This study subsequently has framed my research on curriculum in which I have published at least five conference papers. I now call myself #CurriuculumMustFall practitioner!!

I embrace a teaching philosophy that recognizes the students and contexts as a critical determinant of knowledge in architecture. In all my teachings I develop modules that include critical examination of the context so that I can modify the architecture curriculum in order to give students meaningful learning experiences that respond and take advantage of the context.

My recent teaching/ research has been exploring public spaces and landscape of settlements in Africa. This research has been done with my honours and masters students in Unit 15X – Emergent Landscapes research in the Graduate School of Architecture. We have collaborated with students and academics from Makerere and ARDHI University on public spaces in Kampala in Uganda (2018) and Dar es Salaam (2019- 2020) in Tanzania. The projects explored urban design and landscape design potential of public spaces.

My recent teaching/ research activity has been with the honours and masters students in Unit 15X – with themes of: Resilient landscapes; Radical Landscapes, Emergent Landscapes; and, Remembering Landscapes, in the Graduate School of Architecture. We have collaborated with students and academics from Makerere and ARDHI University on public spaces in Kampala in Uganda (2018) and Dar es Salaam (2019- 2020) in Tanzania. The projects explored urban design and landscape design potential of public spaces.

My future interest is to build a cohort of academics with research interests in the theme of public spaces in Africa, and curriculum. Having taught for over 20 years in South Africa, I have a cohort of my former students in various African countries that will be part of the study. Such studies will initiate substantive transformation of curriculum of built environment schools and professions on the African continent!