Professor Karel Bakker (PhD), Board member of ArchiAfrika Foundation, has died on November 19, 2014. Professor Bakker headed the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria.
Professor Bakker’s influence on the architectural community in South Africa and across the continent of Africa was immense. His research was interdisciplinary and comprises theoretical, design and applied aspects in the fields of architecture, management of historic environments, urban regeneration, historical studies and pedagogy. His fields of specialization were urban and architectural conservation, urban regeneration, heritage theory, heritage impact management, interpretation and presentation of heritage, shared built heritage, African built heritage and architectural history and pedagogy.
Over the years, Professor Bakker brought ArchiAfrika Foundation in touch with the international heritage community, as he was a recognized heritage expert through work for the International Council for Monuments and Sites and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. He demonstrated leadership and a commitment to the cause of ArchiAfrika Foundation by hosting the biannual African Perspectives Conference in Pretoria in 2009. He was also instrumental in pulling together the ArchiAfrika Educational Network, which links African architectural schools.
Professor Bakker has participated in numerous urban design initiatives and heritage impact assessments, and has also been involved in numerous invited specialist reports for reactive monitoring missions, state of conservation missions, impact assessment missions and urban planning policy guidance documents involving World Heritage properties. He also designed the UNESCO Slave Route Monument in Mauritius.
The Board of ArchiAfrika will miss his presence sorely. He will be remembered for his optimism, commitment and friendship to all whom he encountered and met. We send condolences to his family at this difficult time.