BeFront’s Top Articles of 2017

Johannesburg 2081 AD. © Vigilism

At the beginning of the year we tilted our curious antlers closer towards analytical content, resulting in streamlined original pieces and refined editorial features. It has been a challenging yet fruitful journey filled with exciting and engaging articles that questioned, confronted and celebrated different issues and ideas. As we close out 2017, let’s take a look back at the top ten articles that our readers were most drawn to throughout the year.

10. Revisiting African Modernism: A Tale of Three Cities (BeFront)

written by BeFront

It might be far-fetched to consider African cities as distant relatives, better still as half-siblings; all from the womb of Mama Africa, yet bearing a vague resemblance to different ‘fathering’ concepts. A stretch, perhaps… but walk with me for a second…
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9. Public Housing and a Teaspoon of Ethics (Rikus de Kock)

written by Rikus de Kock

If the primary role of buildings were to provide shelter and give some form of protection against the elements, would it then require an academic discourse? Or should the ‘architect’ be reduced to an artist, with main role to merely ‘beautify’ buildings and spaces, taking ownership of the aesthetics?
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8. The Salesman: Death of an Iranian Marriage (Bruce Harris)

written by Bruce Harris

After producing his first film outside of Iran, the much revered Le Passé, auteur Asghar Farhadi returns to Tehran for a film that draws on his experience in theatre and explores the ambiguities and ill fortunes of a troubled marriage…
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7. Informalities of Modern Food Cathedrals (Naeem Adam)

written by Naeem Adam

Gastronomy is a trendy topic across many threads of discourse in architecture and urbanism. Where western food courts within mega-malls exist as mere banal spaces of service, and traditional market halls exhibit a sense of majesty, informal market spaces pick up on neither of these elements – acting out of a necessity for energy, multi-used & often indistinct, and always layered with previous incarnations of stories and activities. What is particularly interesting is how its built form has begun to reflect our collective societal and cultural fascination…
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6. An Emotive Journey Through La La Land (Henry Abosi)

written by Henry Abosi

Where does one start with this? So, a few years ago, shortly after the cacophony that was Nine, I found myself completely infatuated by the intricately composed and gracefully performed, Les Miserables. In my mind, Tom Hooper had revived the magical genre that most find out of place in this day and age. However, it lacked the enthusiastic nonchalance that gave musicals that happy-go-lucky edge. Fast forward 5 years and Damien Chazelle has captured the world with a magical ode to cinema with a musical journey through La La Land…
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5. Stacks on Stacks: Red Brick Obsession (Reynard Smit)

written by Reynard Smit

Often plastered over and hidden in most contemporary architecture, the red brick can often be overlooked and overshadowed by slicker materials. There are a few that take a more honest approach to the materiality of their buildings and have used and celebrated the potential of the humble brick to create interesting, contextual and engaging architecture…
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4. Abstract Art Through Architectural Photography (Ruxandra Huh)

written by Ruxandra Huh

I know, I know – there are so many ‘best of architectural photography’ articles out there. But searching the web for inspiring pieces, it seemed to me that most of the photographs are centered on classically beautiful or unique architecture, rather than celebrating the art of photography. So here it is a collection of perfectly balanced compositions and contrasts of volumes and materials, expressions of abstract art, sculptural architecture and graphic perspectives…
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3. Zeitz MOCAA: Carving New Spaces from Old Issues (Henry Abosi)

written by Henry Abosi

Imagine for a second being approached to design a brand new art gallery, one that would stand as the largest and most revered museum of Contemporary African Art in the world. Then consider the moment they point in the direction of an early 20th Century grain silo as the confines in which this grand design would need to manifest…
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2. Brâncusi: Simplicity is Complexity Resolved (Ruxandra Huh)

written by Ruxandra Huh

Some say his sculptures are overly abstract, some say they are realistic beyond measure, while some (American critics) go as far as saying they are not art at all. Well, they lost their court case; in one of the most significant art related legal battles in history. So, now that that’s settled, Bird in Space is officially a sculptural masterpiece…
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1. Contemplating Street Art Subcultures (Chantel Woodman)

written by Chantel Woodman

One of the things I’ve always wondered is: What is the difference between Street Art and Graffiti? Let me begin by saying that the term is not interchangeable; particularly when one is in conversation with artists from either or both categories…
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