GSA Homegrown: Celebrating African Architectural Talent
Homegrown is a social media and print campaign that celebrates the African talent in our GSA-Boogertman + Partners International Lecture Series. The series is listed alphabetically and draws conceptually on the idea of the periodic table. Each description has a link to the introductions that we've made over the years, an interesting and perhaps unknown fact about the speaker and the date of their lecture. All Africans, including South Africans and Africans-in-the-Diaspora, are included. At our last count, we've had 31 African speakers out of a total of 47, which we believe is something worth celebrating.
HOMEGROWN # 28 Rahel Shawl
Mention the words ‘Ethiopia’ and ‘architecture’ in the same breath and you’ll get one question: ‘do you know Rahel?’ Such is her standing in Addis Ababa that, like Madonna, she’s a first-name only phenomenon. A former Loeb Fellow at Harvard, she studied architecture in Addis Ababa, founding her own practice nearly twenty years ago. She worked on the world-renowned Dutch Embassy and South African Embassy in Addis, cementing life-long friendships with Bjarne and Dirk and Mphethi as a result. She’s created a second office-within-her-office, specifically to mentor young female architects who flock to her for her combination of humour, compassion and drive. On Thursday 4 October 2018, she wowed us with the same. Want to know a few interesting facts? She’s the only member of her family who didn’t leave Ethiopia during the dictatorship She’s married to an architect (but ‘we don’t practice together’, she says, ‘thank goodness.’) She won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007. She was named a ‘Phenomenal Ethiopian Woman Role Model’ in 2014. She’s the person you want to sit next to at an awards dinner.
HOMEGROWN # 27 Peter Rich
Our second-to-last speaker in the series, Peter Rich, is a multiple award-winning Johannesburg-based architect, who was celebrated last year at the 18th annual Venice Biennale. He showcased 15 drawings which drew audiences from around the world, including drawings of his world-famous Mapungubwe Centre, which was awarded the World Building of the Year prize at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona in 2009. Alongside Jo Noero, he’s an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and his work has been exhibited all over the world. On Thursday 3 October 2019, he blew everyone away with his words, work and his unique sense of wonder at everything this continent has to offer. Want to know a few interesting facts? He lives in a brightly coloured Ndebele-inspired home in Parktown. He spends a lot of time traveling and in Axum, Ethiopia. He’s been a professor, tutor and lecturer for almost as long as he’s been practicing. He has a wicked sense of humour. His son is also an architect.
HOMEGROWN # 26 Henning Rasmuss
It’s debatable whether anyone who saw Henning’s lecture on Thursday 6 September 2018 will ever forget it. If you don’t believe us, watch it at the link below. As Alice (she of Through the Looking Glass fame) said, ‘No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful long time!’ We followed Henning on the architectural adventures of his own life, starting from his childhood in Auckland Park, all the way to Hong Kong, London and back again, stopping off in Angola, DRC, Brazil and – we think – Equatorial Guinea along the way. Oh, and then there was AfrikaBurn. Say no more. Want to know a few interesting facts?