Local Studio is a South African architecture and urbanism practice founded in 2012, with a philosophy of creating valuable architecture that is anchored on meaningful impact.
We specialise in multi-family housing, retail and industrial, private houses, education and community, and urban design.
We were founded in Johannesburg and now operate across the African Continent with a Level 1 BBBEE rating.
Kelly Ann De Gouveia
Emmaneel van der Merwe
Khensani De Klerk
We apply a broad definition of ‘community’, to the many projects we have completed which have neither a commercial logic, nor a singular program, yet which serve to impact a large number of people both in terms of programming and design. Our approach begins at the urban design scale, with the recognition of these projects as community catalysts, which ultimately dictates the arrangement of programs and material detailing.
We have designed over twenty educational projects over the last decade, gaining valuable experience in the provision of infrastructure for urban and rural schools as well as tertiary education. Recently completed projects emphasize our adopted principal of a school or university as a communal public space, and include comprehensive environmental design solutions and supplementary functions such as housing.
Our approach to multi-family housing is underpinned by extensive experience in large-scale residential master planning for private and governmental clients; financial feasibility models for market-driven housing; and innovation in replicable unit typologies for a range of applications. Post-occupancy studies of completed housing projects allow us to improve on previous projects and strive for ever more effective multi-family housing solutions.
We have a selective approach to housing commissions, opting mainly to work with clients with challenging briefs in interesting locations. From a private lodge on a 50,000 Ha nature reserve, to a small black brick family home in Johannesburg, our private housing projects have been a process of co-creation with clients, often producing unexpected yet pragmatic results.
Commercial and Industrial
In our commercial and industrial projects, we strive to break from internalised ‘big-box’ environments by promoting activated building edges which respond to surrounding urban conditions. This urban design-driven approach has proven effective, producing financial results for our clients while promoting placemaking outside of transactional zones.
Since before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have questioned the notion of single-use office buildings and precincts. Despite the financial issues inherent in large corporate vacancies, offices operate on a daylight cycle, causing precincts to die at night. Our approach to office projects, where possible is to promote supplementary retail and residential components, paired with accessible pedestrian public spaces, to ensure long term sustainability.
As qualified urban designers since 2013, we have contributed to many of the most impactful urban design frameworks in Johannesburg including the Louis Botha Corridor of Freedom and Walkable Braamfontein plan. This experience has allowed us a measure of criticality of master planning and influenced our current approach to urban design frameworks which seek to balance future planning with achievable, measurable outcomes in the short term.
We are interested in redefining what public space means in a context like Johannesburg, where capital costs demand return and urban management by local government is virtually non-existent. Through the completion of various parks, bridges, promenades and squares, we have grasped the conditions under which public space can be socially, environmentally and financially sustainable.
Steel Award for the Outreach Foundation Community Centre
GIfA Award for the Outreach Foundation Community Centre
Social Gain Award for the Outreach Foundation Community Centre
Sustainable Design Award for the Outreach Foundation Community Centre
Sustainable Design Award for Fulham Heights
Steel Award for Protea Glen Secondary School
Wallpaper Architects Directory
Abacus Space Solutions
African School for Excellence
Brixton Road Investments
Dipula Property Investment Trust
Interactive Africa / Liberty
Johannesburg Development Agency
Mergence Africa Property Investment Trust
Outreach Foundation NGO
Pan Africa Today
Propertuity Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
Stand Out Properties
The Awethu Project
The Italtile and Ceramic Foundation
The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science
Treviso Properties (Pty) Ltd
Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre NGO
University of the Witwatersrand
Urban Task Force
‘We at the Gordon Institute of Business Science have been very pleased with the positive impact of various architectural initiatives undertaken in partnership with Local Studio.
Specifically, the design of recent projects has elevated communal/’pause’ areas on campus from being an “after-thought” to a critical component of the on-campus experience, offering value to student and delegate value commensurate with teaching-specific spaces. Creative material choices contribute to GIBS’ evolving brand language and have helped differentiate the School’s market positioning. And finally, the architects at Local Studio have introduced innovative ideas while respecting the original urban design framework of the campus.’Howard Fox, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria
‘The Italtile & Ceramic Foundation worked with Local studio on a number of projects over the last five years. The team at Local studio is highly creative and solution driven, as well as professional in every respect.’Susan Du Toit, Italtile & Ceramic Foundation
‘We at the Lapalala Wilderness School are delighted with our new campus, designed by Local Studio under the leadership of Thomas Chapman and Daniel Trollip. The team worked closely with us to ensure that the buildings would be suitable for the many different groups which will visit the School, taking into consideration the requirement for it to be entirely off-grid. Their attention to detail and commitment to sustainability, as well as the use of eco-friendly materials, has been remarkable.
‘What Local Studio has accomplished in this complex of buildings is both fit for purpose and impressive, with the beautiful rammed earth walls and careful landscaping helping to situate it in the natural bush which surrounds it
‘We are grateful for the hard work and dedication to this project.’Duncan Parker, Mapula Trust
BBBEE level 1
SAIA (South African Institute of Architects)
The South African Council for the Architectural Profession