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Women In Architecture

We take a look at the achievements of three female architects flourishing in an industry that is still very much ?a man?s world?

By Amy Saunders | May 10, 2018 | Innovative

Just as the political, social and professional aspects of our country are undergoing the transformation process, so is the architecture industry. Throughout the years, the South African Institute of Architects has remained committed to the fight for gender and racial equality in the industry.

In June 2017, right before their August campaign celebrating women in architecture took place, Executive Manager of Transformation, Penelope Sebe wrote, ‘Gone are the days of primitive beliefs, when men were deemed to be superior to their female counterparts, especially in the workplace. Today, as a result of all the barriers women have had to endure over the years, women are now pushing boundaries and are excelling as professionals.’

In light of Condé Nast House & Garden’s upcoming Mother’s Day event, where we will be celebrating women in design, we compiled a list of 3 award-winning female architects we think you should watch.


Ilze Wolff

Ilze Wolff achieved her B.Arch and an M.Phil in Heritage and Public Culture at the University of Cape Town. She is a partner at Wolff Architects and co-founded Open House Architecture in 2007. Wolff was recently added to the shortlist for the prestigious Women in Architecture Awards.

The Moira Gemmill prize which she has been nominated for recognises talented architects under the age of 45.  The prize has been named after the late Moira Gemmill, who was director of design at the Victoria and Albert Museum.


Khensani de Klerk

Khensani de Klerk is an architectural designer, researcher and writer who studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and founded the blog Matri-Archi(tecture). Currently set to be re-launched in August 2018, the blog is dedicated to serving as a platform where gender and racial equality in the industry, and design space in general, can be reached. In Khensani’s own words, ‘Matr-Archi is here to provide sources from multiple identity groups and/or through the lens of marginalized identities, (like me!).’


Kate Otten

Kate Otten is an award-winning, Johannesburg based architect most famous for her Gabriel’s Garden project located in Westcliff. In 2009 she received a GIFA Regional Commendation for Gabriel’s Garden Pavilion, a GIFA Merit Award for Architecture as well as an architecture and cityscape award in Dubai for her Parkhurst Shops project. Her most recent awards in 2015 include the Saint Gobain Architecture for Social Gain Awards for which she was awarded the project and an honourable mention for the arcVision International Prize for women in architecture.


Condé Nast House & Garden hosted an exclusive Mother’s Day event at Brooklyn Mall. Guests were treated to a gourmet lunch and an exquisite assortment of wines. Incredible prizes and Mother’s Day gifts from activation stations run by our acclaimed partner brands were won. Guests also received a gift bag that includes a complimentary copy of The Gourmet Cookbook, valued at R420.00, as well as a variety of carefully selected treats. Further details and a photo gallery of our Mothers Day event can be found  here.


Featured Image: Ricardo Gomez Angel, Unsplash