Thozama gives us some insight into her experience and knowledge of the role of women in the industry, while expressing her belief in the importance of a green ethos in her approach to design – one much like our own here at Paintsmiths.
Q1. Tell us about yourself and your career in the décor/architecture industry?
I was born in Cape Town South Africa, I moved to Pretoria to study an undergraduate degree in Architect but to my surprise I discovered that the University offered a degree in Landscape Architecture a career I was not aware of. I was intrigued by the idea of working with open spaces, creating places that all people interacted with and I wanted to investigate the relationship buildings have with their surroundings. After my second year of architecture I made the decision to convert and it is a decision I don’t regret.
I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria and continued with my postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town.
During my postgraduate studies I started navigating the different scales of the built fabric, becoming more aware of how the design of cities impacts the daily livelihoods of its people.
I have always been passionate about art and considered studying it further when I was in matric. I decided to pursue a field that to me that would be more challenging a career in the built environment. I never lost my passion for painting and sketching during my studies I incorporated hand drawings, painting, vibrant lines and colour in my projects to communicate my ideas, concepts and interventions.
Pattern Place, the title of my dissertation focused on art to create place. A synthesis of my studies and my journey in gaining confidence in my artistic style, incorporating computer aided design to this process while investigating existing patterns of the city to aid the facilitate future design processes at various scales to improving the relationship we have with our cities.
I am currently working at Outer Space Landscape Architects in Johannesburg where I have continued to learn and grow as a Candidate Landscape Architect. I work on parks for the municipality, landscape characteristic studies and attenuations dams. The most exciting thing I have worked on was a skatepark at one of the parks, designing a pattern that was painted on the concrete surface that is visible on Google Earth. I am grateful that I am able to explore art and place in the work environment.
Q2. How do you feel about women’s role in the building industry especially with a focus on sustainability?
The role for women in the built environment is vital. It is important for young women to be exposed to the various career options in the field. Women also work on site, and are involved in the construction process. This knowledge will empower young women; giving them options when deciding what role they want to have in the building industry.
For sustainability to be practiced successfully, the industry needs to be inclusive, where we’re all are working together, sharing the expertise and finding the best solutions to environmental challenges.
Q3. Does paint play a role in your creative process and do you feel that green is an important factor?
Green has a big impact on my creative process. Plants are a dominant factor when designing sustainable solutions, bringing texture and colour to a space. Green is significant, the combination of two primary colours being blue and yellow; green is the complimentary colour to red, so when working with green it is never in isolation. I am constantly inspired by the natural textures and patterns in the environment so when feeling uninspired I immediately look to plants for inspiration, this will be the departure point for my creative process.
With inspirational women like Thozama leading the way, South Africa has a very bright future ahead of them in the architectural world, a future we are fully on board with.