Student Files #03
Adwoa Agyei is a wife and mother of two preteen boys who after a ten-year break from studies finished her Masters in Architecture in 2018 from the GSA's Unit 12 under the tutelage of Sumayya Vally and Professor Lesley Lokko. Her research topic focused on the diaspora, the movement and displacement of people, and the state of limbo experienced by migrants when they are neither one thing nor the other.
Q: What was your time at the GSA like?
A: It was a fantastic 2 years of great discovery - both in self and in relation to what my perception of architecture is. The GSA is a space which helped me realise that as a black female architect in this white male-dominated field, I have a voice and it matters. A lot.
Q: How has the GSA impacted your life?
A: The GSA has left me wanting more - wanting to delve deeper into the conversation, new ways of seeing spaces and exploring topics left on the periphery of what is considered architecture. Through the renowned guests of the International Lecture Series, the GSA has also exposed me to the vast ways of practicing and exploring architecture.
Q: How do you think the GSA is shifting the profession?
A: The GSA is creating a new breed of thinkers who are able to zoom in on the local issues without losing sight of the International relevance of where they are placed. In my experience, it is the only architectural school in South Africa where the real sociopolitical issues are being tackled on a micro-scale.
Q: Did the GSA teach you to be an architect?
A: You can learn the principles of order and how to draw lines anywhere. The GSA has taught me how to ask the questions that delve deeper - to go to the root of things. It has taught me to be more conscientious, to be a thinker and not to just accept the status quo.
Q: Are you an architect? Do you make architecture?
A: I am an architect who practices, yes.
Q: What do you have to say to future applicants and the next generation of architects?
A: Most schools of architecture are still teaching the same rules in the same old fashioned ways. Now while it is great to understand the ground rules, it is also critical to see yourself in the work that you do. The GSA allows you to explore all those places where you are able to understand where we could possibly go. It's all one great big science lab of explosive experiments. Some can be a little wayward and some rear incredible results. But the great thing is that tutors and students are all learning together. There is no right or wrong in experimentation.
Q: How do you describe the movement we are creating at the school?
A: An unrelenting force of creativity and ingenuity. The GSA "shines your eyes" well well.
Adwoa Agyei - Unit 12 Alumni, 2018. Photo: © Unknown | Graphic Design: © DieAteljee
GSA Files is an initiative that tracks our past students, staff and critics, in an ongoing, live archive of works and networks. View more records on our GSA Files tab on our website: gsa.ac.za.