Posted: 22 May 2020
GSA Files. Elao Martin. ST #03. © Fred Swart

Elao Martin
Student Files #03

Elao is an architect in training in Namibia and a prospective PhD candidate at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) where he currently works as a staff development fellow. His interests concern contemporary African domesticity as a lens with which to discover and study African cities.


Q: How has the GSA impacted your life?
A: I speak of my time at the GSA with pride. Along with opening professional doors for me, my time at the GSA (and in Johannesburg) made me realise that the world is a smaller place, and I have the ability to affect many things as well as create my own opportunities.


Q: How do you think the GSA is shifting the profession?
A: I think that through the evocative work of the students and methods of exhibition, the school is doing one specific, and very important thing: it is making people excited about architecture again. I think with that, students will have the opportunity to decide what it means to be an architect and to make architecture. It's refreshing and extremely exciting.


Q: Did the GSA teach you to be an architect?
A: Yes. Through my experiences in Unit17, I worked more with the material aspects of architecture more than I ever have, whereas in Unit15x, I learned to engage with unique African narratives in architecture. These experiences are turning out to be defining in my work and thinking as a young architect.


Q: What do you have to say to future applicants and the next generation of architects?
A: I think what students should look for is a challenging experience. A school which is integrated into the city's fabric and engages with exciting emerging themes is the best place to grow architectural ideas and a general scope of interest. All of this contributes to making architecture.


Q: How do you describe the movement we are creating at the school?
A: I think it is a movement that attempts to unearth the most raw, unique and original ideas around space and architecture.


Q: Describe the GSA in one word / one sentence.
A: Brave!


Q: Which staff member made an impact on your life at the GSA?
A: Prof Finzi Saidi.


Elao Martin - Unit 15X Alumni, 2018. Photo: © Ndeshipanda Iita. 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: