Erky Wood Director, GAPP Architects & Urban Designers, South Africa
Erky is an urbanist specialising in urban design, urban development processes, the identification of strategic objectives, parametric urban cost modelling, public policy issues and their effect on the urban design process. He was a member of the original Urban Design team for the V&A Waterfront project in Cape Town, starting in 1988 and subsequently led a strategic review of it through 2006 to 2009.
He led the urban design team for FNB’s BankCity headquarters project in Johannesburg in 1989 as well as being a member of the team responsible for Johannesburg’s Newtown Cultural Precinct. From the 1970s, Erky has been involved in policy work for various agencies aimed at achieving the post-apartheid South African city and co-authored the Johannesburg Metropolitan Interim Strategic Framework in the lead-up to democracy in 1994. Much of this work culminated in him leading the team that prepared the Gauteng Spatial Development Framework (GSDF) which was approved by the Provincial cabinet in 2011 and which provides an urban structure capable of accommodating 30 million people over the next 30 years.
From 1995 to the present, Erky has been in charge of designing, implementing and design reviewing the La Lucia Office Estate (described as South Africa’s premier office park), including its architectural design controls, for Tongaat Hulett Developments. This development north of Durban provided the stepping stone for Erky to design and implement the adjacent Umhlanga Ridge Town Centre, a vertically integrated, complex, mixed-use activity node undertaken at a large scale in a greenfields situation by Tongaat Hulett Developments.
For more than 17 years Erky worked on the 4200ha Modderfontein Development Framework, initially for AECI Property Division and, later, for Heartland Properties. Over the last 3 years, he has been involved in conceiving and strategizing the development of the Tambo Springs next-generation freight and logistics rail hub south-east of Johannesburg on the N3 axis form Durban harbour.
Erky Wood was recently nominated to deliver the third Roelof S Uytenbogaardt UDISA Memorial Lecture (2017), and in so doing, honoured for his contribution, principally, to the practice of urban design. With his early background in lecturing and thesis supervision, he went on to design, implement and administer the level of urban design involvement that are seldom achievable in contemporary city management, adding immense value, whether socially, culture, spatially and /or economically.