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 # 25 Kate Otten
Alongside Bob van Bebber, there’s probably no keener attendee of this lecture series. We can count on the fingers of one hand the lectures she’s missed. Her own lecture on Thursday 3 August 2017 was delivered without notes and over 150 slides detailing the 300-odd buildings she’s designed or built (or both) in twenty-five years of practice. Her work is deeply tied to place and people, often acting as an important counterweight to the dominant Western aesthetic that so often prevails in South Africa. She’s been published widely and has won numerous awards, both locally and internationally. She’s one of our brightest (and bubbliest) stars! Want to know a few interesting facts? She’s a trained classical musician. She loves dogs. Like, really loves dogs. And cats and chickens. She’s got excellent taste in Chardonnay. She can garden for days. She loves pink (and red, purple, blue, turquoise, yellow . . . ) She’s a terror on a building site. Her staff adore her.
HOMEGROWN # 24 D K Osseo-Asare
He’s a co-founder and principal of the architecture and integrated design studio, Low Design Office (LOWDO), based in Austin, Texas and Tema, Ghana. His fascinating premise that high design can be realised through low cost, low energy and low technology solutions has brought him to the world’s attention and on Valentine’s Day 2019, he showed us why. His work straddles the worlds of engineering, recycling, architecture, technology and design in the most fluid, creative and deeply committed ways. Want to know a few interesting facts? He’s half Ghanaian, half American and grew up splitting his time between both. He’s an assistant professor in the same university where his father is a professor (ouch!) He’s TED Global Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar. He studied at Harvard. He blogs about African architecture and making at Afrch. He’s got a great sense of humour.
HOMEGROWN # 23 Jo Noero
He dramatically declared ‘No More Masterplans!’ at the start of his lecture and proceeded to demolish the planning profession in South Africa, which certainly raised eyebrows! He’s this country’s best-known architect with a career that spans four decades. He’s done it all, from private homes to museums, large-scale public buildings, renovations, institutions, housing for some of this country’s most disadvantaged populations . . . he’s been a teacher, a professor, a director of school . . . and in his lecture on Thursday 1 March 2018, he showed us why we love him so. Want to know a few interesting facts? He studied at the former University of Natal and the University of Newcastle in the UK. He’s exhibited around the world. He’s an International Fellow of the RIBA and an Honorary Fellow of the AIA. He’s completed over 200 buildings. He’s a great dinner party guest (and host!) He initially wanted to be a doctor but didn’t like blood.