An awareness campaign is being developed by Paragon Architects South Africa (PASA), part of the Paragon Group of architecture and interior architecture companies, to counter the lack of awareness about the architectural profession, the critical role it plays in the development of South Africa, and its potential to offer viable career paths in rural areas.

PASA was awarded a Level 1 Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) rating in 2018, reveals Director Thulani Sibande. He highlights that PASA has embarked on a programme to focus on schools in rural areas.

“We are looking to target learners from Grade 10, as by Grade 12 they should largely have made up their minds about their future career paths. We need to make learners not only aware of the importance of architecture in society, but how it is a perfect combination of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.”

In 2018, PASA invited select groups of learners from various schools to a guided tour of the Paragon head office in Sandton, Johannesburg, where they experienced first-hand how an architecture and interior architecture group functions on a daily basis.

He adds that South Africa still has the lead over the rest of Africa in terms of contemporary architecture and technological innovation. “We are finding that, as we become more involved in the rest of Africa, this gives us an ideal opportunity to inculcate best-practice as it has been nurtured back home.”

An exciting project for the Paragon Group in Africa at the moment is Habitat Apartments in Kilimani, a 24-storey, 160-unit mixed-use apartment tower in conjunction with Design Source of Nairobi. Under development by Ekco Investments, the project is scheduled for completion by mid-2020.