Current Work: Wolff Architects

The founding principals of the South African practice discuss their design, research, and advocacy work.

April 5, 2022

Recorded on February 15, 2022.

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

In this video, the founding principals of Wolff Architects, Ilze Wolff and Heinrich Wolff, discuss the firm’s past two years of projects and their commitment to critically engaging with the spatial histories of Cape Town and South Africa. Works presented include 66 Greatmore, the refurbishment and repair of an old school building that acknowledges and disturbs apartheid spatialities, and the Rhodes Cottage, which serves as a gathering point for the retelling of the country’s history. They also take us through their reflections on architecture’s relation to time, asking “what lasts?” Through projects like the Watershed, Cheré Botha School, and Vredenburg Hospital, the Wolffs delve into their understanding of architecture in terms of superstructures and substructures; a holistic approach that relies on materials, innovation, and resourcefulness in order to create durability and flexibility in their designs.

The lecture was introduced by Mabel O. Wilson, professor in Architecture and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University, and the Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies.

The presentation was followed by a conversation and Q&A with architect, designer, and educator Hayley Eber.