UJ Alumni Impumelelo Magazine Edition 8

The Graduate School of Architecture (GSA), with its strong focus on diversity and transformation – celebrating Africanism in particular – takes huge pride in operation on the on the cutting edge of architectural thinking worldwide. Since opening its doors in 2015, the GSA has produced a highly creative crop of architects who continually

do their alma mater proud in their contributions to global architectural culture.

Sumayya Vally and Sarah de Villiers (former Unit 12 and 18 leaders, respectively) of the Johannesburg architecture studio, Counterspace, two of three women architects who landed the prestigious commission to build the Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens in London, which was open from June to October last year (2021). (On 16 September 2021, Sumayya Vally and Prof Lesley Lokko, former GSA head, delivered a lecture titled ‘Scenographies of Diaspora and Dispersal’. The GSA’s winning formula is its unique Unit system and open- minded approach to creativity. As Dickson Adu-Agyei, Unit15X tutor explains in the GSA 2020 video, “The GSA allows students to bring their experiences into the world of architecture, whether it is in the form of spirituality or art, and to represent this in an architectural way.” The appointment of Prof Mark Raymond in 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, has further elevated the GSA’s status as a global leader in architectural education. Prof Raymond is a graduate of London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) and RMIT’s practice-based PhD programme. He served as the Plym Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois (Spring 2021). He has extensive international experience in both practice and architectural education. After

Prof Mark Raymond - HoD: GSA

The GSA – leading in architecture education for seven years

graduating from the AA, he worked in Europe for practices including Conran, Norman Foster, Ulrike Brandi and DEGW before returning to Port of Spain, Trinidad. His practice has embraced a wide range of architectural and urban design/ planning commissions throughout the Caribbean. Raymond has combined his practice with writing, teaching, lecturing and design research. He is committed to the effective engagement of design pedagogy, through practice and research, with processes of transformation and social justice.

“Prof Raymond’s extensive international experience as an educator, researcher and practitioner – with an impressive portfolio of built work – together with his deep knowledge of a wide range of contemporary architectural issues are all invaluable assets for the GSA. His appointment comes at a critical moment as the School seeks to reimagine itself within the dynamic landscape of architectural education in Southern Africa,” said Dr Finzi Saidi, Head of the Department of Architecture, UJ, at the time of his appointment.


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