As this blog is aimed to promote the best in African Design, I have decided to do a weekly post on the various architects and designers in continent making waves and doing big things!!! So this week i had to start with a very talented South African Architect.
Mokena Makeka, a South African Architect, principal and founder of Makeka Design Lab. Makeka’s vision is to create a sound African aesthetic that serves the public and client, bringing dignity and grace to the built environment. Makeka was also one of the keynote speaker at the Design Indaba 2010.
Although born in SA, He was raised in Newyork where his father, Lesotho’s then-ambassador to the UN, was posted. His family returned to Lesotho in the mid-80s, where Mokena completed high school before returning to the country of his birth to study architecture. After graduating with distinction from UCT in 2001, Mokena won a scholarship to do his Masters in City Planning and Urban Design.
In 2002, Makeka established Makeka Design Lab (MDL) His first commission in 2004 was to refurbish the Retreat police station and prison. His highlight so far,was being selected among 100 architects globally by Hertzog and de Meuron to be a part of the Ordos 100. He is a two-time recipient of the CIA Award of Merit and a 2010 nominee for the Johnnie Walker Celebrating Strides Awards in Design. He sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Design, is an external examiner at the Columbia University School of architecture and lectures at the University of Cape Town.
Mokena’s belief that ‘good design is a basic human right’ has raised eyebrows in certain camps. ‘Architecture is a powerful art form in its ability to communicate with its users. If you walk into a depressing space that’s poorly lit and badly ventilated, it’s going to affect you – your outlook, your creativity and how you interact with others. The opposite is true of positive, inspiring spaces. That’s why I believe it’s a human right, not merely a preserve of the rich. Architecture needs to have a lowest common denominator of good-design criteria – access to natural light, ventilation, high ceilings – which have nothing to do with aesthetics. Everybody deserves to have a certain level of comfort; it shouldn’t be a matter of money.’
Some of his works include the Green point stadium in Villa Ordos 100, Zanzibar bridge, Green point stadium, Capetown station, Public transport centre Capetown.
A young, talented and highly accomplished architect. He is a true of example of how hard work pays off and is no doubt a success story. Truly talented also!!!!
(Photos courtsey of Mokena Makeka Design lab)