QASA to demonstrate at UIA conference

QASA have invited people with disabilities to unite in a peaceful demonstration outside the UIA 2014 architecture conference on Tuesday, 4 August to motivate for universal building accessibility.

QASA, the QuadPara Association of South Africa will hold a peaceful demonstration outside the UIA 2014 Architecture Conference on Monday morning, 4 August from 7.30 to 10am.

Ari Seirlis, CEO of QASA said he was very disappointed that the KZN Institute of Architects building is not accessible to wheelchairs. “We requested them six years ago to make their own building accessible and to date they have not done so, even after promising six years ago. Furthermore, the union of architects, chose to occupy an inaccessible building whilst planning this conference in Durban. We are concerned that they speak about “access for all” but they do not live this motto,” said Seirlis.

Kevin Bingham, KZNIA President said the KZNIA was a voluntary association and had occupied its current home for close to two decades. According to Bingham the building is restricted in terms of its redesign through heritage regulations set by AMAFA and was delayed because of the metal workers strike.

Bingham was contacted by Seirlis of QASA in January of this year regarding the KZNIA building. “I expressed my apologies for the time that this had taken, agreed that action was necessary, and, through our architect, undertook to implement the necessary changes. Mr Seirlis suggested that as a statement of support for accessibility, we should ignore the AMAFA process. The KZNIA chose to submit its accessibility proposals to AMAFA and, after some amendments, were given the approval to proceed,” he said.

QASA has made a call for all people with disabilities to unite in a peaceful demonstration to hand over a memorandum to the UIA 2014 president.

“It is important for us to make this statement to architects at this world conference in Durban. Whilst it is politically popular and correct to talk about universal access, what are they really doing about it? The very opportunity that they had to demonstrate their commitment by ensuring that they themselves occupy compliant and accessible buildings, was ignored by them.”

Ari said QASA had decided to make a global statement to architects about taking universal access seriously especially since the UIA 2014 conference accepted to occupy an inaccessible building from the City of Durban while planning the conference.

“The principle is that architects should not be occupying inaccessible buildings to ply their trade and to manage their institutes, committees, organisations and associations. They are the very people who either do or do not create accessible environments. Our freedom, our opportunity to circulate, our human rights, depend on the former!”

Ari said QASA had successfully applied for a licence to demonstrate from 7am until 10 am on the morning of 4 August outside the ICC (Walnut Street, next to the Hilton Hotel, Durban ), in order to hand over a memorandum to the President of the Union of Architects World Conference.

For more information about the demonstration contact Ari Seirlis on

Hassan Asmal, president of the UIA 2014 Durban Organisation Committee, said the Committee welcomed issues relating to accessibility and was taking the necessary steps to ensure that all the venues being used for the Durban 2014 Conference are accessible to and user friendly to users with special needs.

“Issues of this nature are in keeping with the theme of ‘Otherwhere’ in that participants are being encouraged to look at creative ways to address the needs of all our citizens. While this is not a new issue, it is an issue that needs not just the attention of architects, but all our citizens in that we need to ensure that all our buildings and public spaces are user friendly to persons with special needs. This needs to become the norm and not the exception.”

Related Articles

Back to top button