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Women in architecture

August 26, 2016

During the month of August, we interviewed six extraordinary women. Each one had a distinctive piece of wisdom to impart.

Dr. Ariane Janse van Rensburg, on why there weren’t more women making waves in architecture, said that women often get support while studying, but not necessarily while working. As a consequence, many women graduate from architectural studies but many work in related fields as opposed to as architects. Architect Janet Saaiman said the face of architecture is still predominantly white male – women tend to just get down to doing the job and find their satisfaction in a job done well with all expectations met.

Sumaya Valley, Director of  Counterspace Urban Design said that women bring a focus on myth, narrative, on quirky sensibilities, attention to tactile and sensory qualities and re-enrich the profession of architecture. Architect and Urban designer Althea Peakcock said that transformation is an ongoing journey, not a once-off occurrence.

Architect and Urban Designer Monica Albonico spoke on architecture as a way of binding communities together – bringing different energies into play and adopting enabling and transformative urban policies to guide the development of our cities; making them inclusive, flexible and empowering.  She said we should bring women to the forefront of negotiations and decision-making to protect and reinforce the role that social capital plays in delivering more equitable urban spaces.

Marella O’Reilly, CEO of SACAP outlined the WiASA (Women in Architecture South Africa) initiative that aims to get more women engaged in architecture, allowing their voices to be heard and their unique capabilities to be harnessed.


Women in Architecture

August 17, 2016

What a treat to have so many extraordinary women in studio with us – Janet Saaiman and Althea Peacock tell us about women in architecture and touch on what transformation means; Sumaya Valley chats about what women bring to the architectural space and Monica Albonico talks about bringing communities together through urban planning; Dr. Ariane Janse van Rensburg talks about why women don’t remain in architecture formally and SACAP CEO Marella O’Reilly tells us about the Women in Architecture (WiASA) initiative that SACAP is rolling out.


  • Monica Albonico
  • Janet Saaiman
  • Ariane Janse van Rensburg
  • Sumaya Valley
  • Marella O’Reilly
  • Althea Peacock