‘WE’RE TRY­ING TO build a prac­tice that’s well stitched with ARTIS­TIC DIS­CI­PLINES.’

House and Leisure (South Africa) - - View Heads Up - AMINA KASKAR, SARAH DE VILLIERS AND SUMAYYA VALLY THE AR­CHI­TECT S

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.

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