Diepsloot (the Afrikaans word for "deep ditch") is a township approximately 40 - 45 km north of Johannesburg. It was originally established in 1995 as a temporary living spot for about 200 families evicted from other Gauteng areas. Today, Diepsloot is renowned for its incredible growth over a very short period and features over 800,000 residents, a variety of shops, centres, and its own police station.
Recently, a vacant piece of land was turned into a public park for the residents of Diepsloot: Diepsloot West Park, which provides new playground equipment, benches and walkways, sports facilities, a water channel, plus trees.
Diepsloot is a mixture of both informal and formal settlements. Residents live in a mixture of fully government-subsidised housing, partially government subsidised houses, brick houses built by landowners, and shacks. Approximately 45% of Diepsloot residents live in properties that they rent from landowners who have subdivided their land.
Taking both functionality and visual looks into consideration, an Interior Architect designs the interior of a building. This can include anything from a residential house and corporate office to a school and shop. Similar to Architects, Interior Architects need to be licensed in order to lawfully work in South Africa.
Although Interior Architects are sometimes confused for Interior Designers (the two professions can work together on multiple projects), there are major differences between the two. Interior Architects are concerned with more than just the physical appearance of an interior space. They must also consider what is practical, safe, and aesthetically pleasing for the client. That is why they need to be clued up on safety regulations and building codes.
For a project, an Interior Architect may be required to draft drawings, plans and 3D designs for the client. No two jobs will necessarily be the same, but in most cases an Interior Architect will be required to interact with clients, additional professionals (Architects, Electricians, Roofers...), construction teams, and building inspectors. They always take into account interior construction, lighting, furnishings, and layout in order to make an interior space safe and functional.
To become a professional Interior Architect, a person will require a bachelor's degree in architecture, interior design, or similar field. Industry certifications may be beneficial to gain additional skills. Previous experience as an Interior Architect is often preferred.
Interior Architects need to possess strong interior design knowledge, plus the ability to follow specific construction guidelines. A knack for working with computer software and office applications is also crucial as, similar to other professionals in the building industry, Interior Architects will use computer-aided design (CAD) in their day-to-day job to better communicate a project to a client.
Other skills that can aid an Interior Architect in his daily profession include experience with interior systems, furniture, building codes, as well as developing effective interior mechanical and electrical systems.
When setting up an initial meeting with a professional, it is crucial to ask the right questions to help determine whether this is the appropriate Interior Architect for your project. Every Interior Architect has his own set of expertise, experience and values. It is your responsibility to find one that aligns with your project goals. And their answers to the following questions can definitely point you in the right direction...
1. What do you see as the most important considerations for my project? No design / construction project will be without challenges. Ask the Interior Architect you're meeting with to identify some issues that jump out at them, as well as to describe some potential solutions. Although it's not fair to expect them to have all the answers at this stage, a professional and experienced Interior Architect will be able to name some examples from previous projects. Listen carefully to how they solved those problems.
2. How will you gather information about my needs and wants? To ensure first-rate results, your Interior Architect will need to know as much as possible about you, including your wants and needs, plus your design ideas. This will be used to make informed decisions about the design. If the professional has a detailed and systematic way of gathering the required information, that's a good sign.
3. What is your experience with cost estimating? It is crucial to set up a budget, seeing as very few people have unlimited funds for building and designing. And while an initial meeting is too early for establishing a cost estimate with the Interior Architect, it does help knowing what experience they have, and how reliable his / her past estimates have been.
4. If my project's scope changes, will there be additional costs? How will they be justified? It's not uncommon for the unexpected to occur – you may change your mind about a certain feature in the design or the suppliers can run out of a material or finish. It is definitely in the best interest of your budget to plan ahead for these unforeseen events and ask the Interior Architect how they will handle the costs.
5. Can you provide me with a list of client references? One of the best ways of knowing what it's like to work with someone is to find somebody who's done it. Ask for client references, but also search for your own online – and be sure to follow up with them. Even if you don't hear any negative criticism, it's always helpful to hear what someone appreciated about the Interior Architect you're considering working with.