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 # 07 Counterspace
Named in Domus’ ‘Top 100 Architectural Firms of the Year’ in 2019, this three-woman practice who combine teaching, research and practice are an emerging African force to watch! Sumayya Vally (Unit 12 Leader) and Sarah de Villiers (Unit 14 Tutor) have been teaching at the GSA since its inception in 2015 and we cannot imagine the school without them! Their Thursday, 25 July 2019 lecture was a masterclass in poise, depth and performance. Want to know a few interesting facts? They had to introduce themselves! Counterspace had to introduce themselves! Sumi’s favourite colour is gold. Sarah’s favourite colour is black. Sarah speaks Italian as well as English and Architecture They do everything at the GSA – and we mean ‘everything.’ They are fast becoming the GSA’s most traveled tutors, from Hong Kong to Sydney to the US to New Zealand.
HOMEGROWN # 06 Cohen & Garson
Nina Cohen and Fiona Garson have been in partnership for 15 years, producing a stream of ground-breaking and innovative buildings. They received the Visi Designer of the Year Award in 2012 for the the Wits Art Museum, a much-loved and much-visited local landmark. They also received an Award of Excellence from Gifa and a National Award of Merit from SAIA for WAM. They lectured on Thursday, 30 August 2018 and brought the house down. Want to know a few interesting facts? Both Nina and Fiona graduated from Wits. Fiona founded her own practice, Fiona Garson Architects in 1993. Nina and Fiona joined forces in 2002, establishing Cohen and Garson Architects. They’ve established themselves as one of the leading practices in South Africa, known particularly for their educational buildings Their Wits Art Museum, WAM, is one of the best-loved buildings in Braamfontein.
HOMEGROWN # 05 Tom Chapman
Thomas Chapman founded Local Studio in 2011 with the intention of using design to create social and economic development for people of all classes. In just under a decade, they are one of the leading firms dealing with public space and social infrastructure in South Africa. His Thursday, 9 March 2017 lecture was packed, and this was before he’d even started teaching at the GSA! Want to know a few interesting facts? Tom has a Master’s degree in Urban Design from Wits Local Studio started in 2012 and now has 14 full-time staff members. Their first book, Hustles, was published in 2019!