TOPIC: WiASA : OPPORTUNITIES FOR A TRANSFORMED ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION
PRESENTERS: Karuni Naidoo; Nomagugu Manci; Prof Debbie Whelan and Joanne Lees
(presentation of 60 minutes, followed by a 30 minute question and answer session)
ABOUT THE PRESENTATION
The Women in Architecture SA programme was initiated with the aim of addressing transformation and diversity within the profession.
The statistics of Registered Architectural Professionals reflect an unacceptably low level of women in architecture in SA, while the demographics of this small group highlight the extensive marginalization of previously disadvantaged women. Reasons behind the imbalance and marginalization of previously disadvantaged women will be outlined, together with the objectives, the approach, and outline of the programme. The status of work done to date in KwaZulu Natal by the SAIA KZNIA, and nationally by SAIA will be discussed, with its challenges and lessons learned.
The presenters are all involved in the WiASA initiative in KZN. Each will each share their journey in architecture as women. They will talk about their backgrounds, their families, work life balance, their experience of the construction industry, private sector clients, organisations representing the profession, architectural education, academia, research, economic empowerment, sustainability and transformation.
“Our vision for a healthy and transformed architectural profession includes practices, institutions and organisations which are able to address our diversity, and be inclusive of gender, race, class, culture, ability, sexual orientation and religion. These will be the new creative spaces where all members of the profession understand and respect each other, and act in a socially responsible manner. This can only result in excellence in architecture.”
ABOUT THE PRESENTERS
KARUNI NAIDOO completed a B.Architecture in 1988 at the University of Natal (UKZN) at the height of apartheid. Over the past 28 years she has worked, travelled, undertook studies in housing, and lectured at MLST/DUT, before establishing CNN Architects in 1995, which she still leads, now as sole Principal. She spent much of the 1980’s actively involved in political campaigns of the time, and continues this work in the WiASA programme, which she initiated in 2015. She currently advises both SACAP and SAIA in terms of their transformation policies and programmes. She shares her home and garden with her dog, and creates organic spontaneous ceramic work to counteract the negative effects of practice.
NOMAGUGU MANCI completed a B.Architecture in 2002 at the University of Natal (UKZN). Whilst working with established architectural practices in KZN, she acquired extensive experience in architecture. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to make a meaningful contribution within this field as a black woman, she founded NSM Designs in 2005. She has since been fortunate to have been part of some high profile projects which have allowed her practice to be sustainable. She is passionate about seeing a change in the way business is conducted within architecture to ensure the emergence and sustainability of more black practices. Nomagugu is married with three boys.
PROF DEBBIE WHELAN completed a B.Architecture / PG Dip Architecture at the University of Natal (UKZN), followed by a BA in Anthropology & Archaeology, and thereafter an M.Architecture by research in 2002. She has interests in architectural research, focussing on historic structures and landscapes, and has been involved with the KZN Monuments Council and AMAFA since 1997. She has experience in community advocacy with historic structures, and has been involved in a many organisations in Pietermaritzburg. She has been an academic at DUT since 2002, and was Head of Department between 2014 & 2015. Debbie also holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from London University. She is married, lives in a wonderful house and garden with four dogs and three cats, and has a growing passion for cultivating haemanthus.
JOANNE LEES completed a B.Architecture in 1990 at the University of Natal (now UKZN). Over the past 25 years she has worked in private practice, barring a short spell in the public sector, taught part-time at UND/UKZN, examined at various institutions, and has pursued a wide range of built environment related and other activities, mostly as a Principal of Lees & Short Architects, which she established with her husband in 1995. Through her work she has tried to channel her over-developed sense of social justice, grapple with a wide spectrum of issues related to inclusive sustainable development, and in the process has sometimes strayed away from architecture altogether. She has three children, and to her initial surprise, her eldest daughter is now studying architecture.