“When I walk around in town, I always look up, because people rarely look at things anymore,” says Faseeg Narkedien, an architect who works in the CBD.
“Like the mosaic tiles at the central train station, or the sculptures on buildings in the side roads that go unnoticed.”
Faseeg has had an eye for detail from a young age, and has always found the way people use space interesting.
“I considered studying interior design, but decided on architecture, because it was broader than interior design.
“In architecture, we use the term ‘form follows function’. So basically, you design the building or structure from the inside out – consider the function first and then the exterior will follow; it’s one way of doing it,” he says.
Faseeg grew up in Parkside, Port Elizabeth, where he went to school, studied and landed his first job as an architect. “I worked at a small firm in my home town. They were a small office but were one of the lead architects in the redesign of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan stadium for the World Cup 2010.
“However, I started out on small-scale projects, such as housing.”
He then moved to Cape Town in 2012. “I used to come to Cape Town a lot, because I have family here so it was like a second home,” he says.
“I’ve always wanted to move to Cape Town.”
However, the Rosebank resident says it was hard to find work as an architect. “I think at the time, the industry wasn’t booming, so I had to try my own thing. I joined a friend and helped out at his company as a consultant.
“He was a graphic designer, but it helped build a skill, because when you do architectural presentations, you have to make it look good and there’s a big graphic design element to that.”
But his friend’s company closed down last year, and Faseeg worked in a call centre for some time, until he landed a job at the architectural firm he now works for in Adderley Street. “I am now in the field of medical space planning, where we need to figure out how things work in hospital rooms, and design the best way to use the space in terms of layout and flow to make it easy for doctors and patients.
“It’s more focused, but I was fortunate to work for a small scale firm and learn how to work on many buildings as well as housing. It’s different for me but I’m building my skills. Medical space planning is a rare field in architecture.”
Faseeg says what fascinates him about the city centre is the detail.
“We live in what I like to call the hunchback era, because people are always looking down at their phones. “I love looking at the detail, and the city centre is always busy. It’s filled with a visual buzz that most people don’t get to see.”
He says the buildings in the city are very old, with intricate detail. “Most of these buildings are Edwardian or Victorian – Victorian is more decorative. However, there are many new buildings popping up everywhere in between the older ones, which are more modern and don’t really fit in aesthetically – but I don’t think it does any harm.
“People are moving towards a modern way of living, so it is accepted. I think the mix is okay, however, I don’t want to see the CBD losing any of the older heritage buildings which are rich in history.”