‘WE’RE TRYING TO build a practice that’s well stitched with ARTISTIC DISCIPLINES.’
All roads led to Joburg for Amina Kaskar, Sarah de Villers and Sumayya Vally, who hail from Durban, Joburg and Pretoria respectively. Their architecture firm Counterspace specialises in urban and spatial problem-solving in architecture, installation and art, and was started as a fierce reaction to traditional practices. Their proudest professional moment was at the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015, where they were only one of three South African firms, as well as being the youngest of all the participating architects.
One of Sumayya’s earliest childhood memories is walking to the Johannesburg Public Library from her grandfather’s stores on Ntemi Piliso Street in Newtown every day. ‘My love for architecture comprises two things: fiction and the city,’ she says. While Amina traces the beginning of her interest in architecture back to her grandparents’ U-shaped brick house in Durban, where she’d pretend the driveway was a moat filled with child-hungry crocodiles, when Sarah was a little girl, she used to think that architects only designed buildings, but says that ‘Now I have come to learn that they craft the way people meet each other, laugh and celebrate.’
As well as lecturing, you’ll find the trio working on designs for an arts centre in KwaZulu-Natal’s Valley of a Thousand Hills, furnituremeets-installation pieces for an early childhood development non-government organisation, and researching the public spaces of Wits Braamfontein and Parktown campuses and surrounds.
We’d love to work with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, British sculptor Anish Kapoor, Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, local designer Chu Suwannapha and Cape Town architectural studio Wolff Architects. counterspace-studio.com See Amina’s, Sarah’s and Sumayya’s favourite buildings in Africa at houseandleisure.co.za.