Conversations with artist:Studio Marx





Event poster by:Wolff architects




From the 2nd of August 2018, Wolff Architects hosted a series of exhibitions on projects where we have collaborated with artists. ”Conversations with artists: Marx Studios" was the first. 

This project involved the designing and construction of two studios for Maja and Gerhard Marx during    2016-7. 

The exhibition featured the work of the two artists and architectural design drawings by Wolff Architects.

 The drawings depicts how the Marx's artistic approach influenced the design and appearance of their studios, and how their working methods shaped the space, the way they move around their studios while working and how that influenced both plan and section.

At the exhibition opening there was conversations about process, breakthroughs, key debates and  the fun  that was had by the four friends while co-creating. 

Pictures of the exhibition opening by Masixole Feni.


Artist: Maja Marx. Title: Glossal, Year: 2018














Cheré Botha School Tour & Talk



Wolff Architects was commissioned by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape to design the Cheré Botha School.  Cheré Botha  is a Learners with Special Educational Needs (LSEN) school situated in Oakglen, Bellville, Western Cape and accommodates learners from the ages of 3 -18.



An artist impression of Cheré Botha School by: Leighton Arendse, a senior phase yr 3 learner at the school.



Open House Architecture/Wolff Architects organized an event on the morning of the 18th of August 2018 of the recently opened school. Heinrich Wolff  along with Joey vd Westhuizen the school's principal gave a talk in the school hall on the design principles of the building, followed by questions from members of the architectural profession and the public in attendance. Visitors had an opportunity to tour the school building for the rest of the morning. This event was organized as a fundraiser for the school. 


Heinrich Wolff (L) with Joey vd Westhuizen (R)  delivering talk to guests. Image: Lerato Maduna

In South Africa, many special educational needs schools are conglomerations of classrooms strung along a central corridor. The need for enclosed corridors originate from the susceptibility of many of these learners to respiratory diseases. The persistent wind and winter rainfall of Cape Town makes open courtyard typologies inappropriate for this kind of school. The result then, is that no collectivity is established beyond the classroom. Although learners with autism and ones with intellectual disabilities are taught in separate classrooms it is mutually beneficial for the learners to play and interact together. The search for collective form therefore serves an educational and developmental purpose as well.



A view  of the school from the field. Image:Heinrich Wolff



The architecture of this school engages with the speculations of Fumihiko Maki on the nature of collective form and masterful usage of light. Maki’s speculations focused on the design of authentic urban patterns which respond to the lifestyle, terrain, urban economies and contemporary challenges of societies or urban districts. The character and coherence of villages which developed over long periods of time served for Maki as a benchmark of significant collective form at an urban scale.

The horizontality of the canopy around the arrival court is contrasted with the verticality of the A-frame structures and the hall. The sculptural volumes of the hall and workshops with its characteristic roof profile are the central moments of the architectural composition. These two volumes are clad in corrugated iron and rise like cumulus clouds from the datum of the canopy at their base. The interior of the hall is triangulated in section just like the A-framed spaces. As another triangulated space, the hall becomes an exaggerated version of other collective forms. Openings for light are carefully arranged to ensure a low glare interior.





Visitors at the arrival court during the tour of the school.Images:Lerato Maduna




The school is divided into six sections: an administration building, four classroom blocks for learners, divided into various age groups; including one classroom block with the assembly hall, a kitchen and workshops. Each of the classroom blocks is designed around a shared space which is expressed through a timber A-frame, conceptualised as the ‘super-form’. The A-frame ‘super-form’ is identical for every age group but the ground surface is occupied and programmed differently depending on its situation: the creche is filled with play equipment and soft surfaces, the junior sections with lines for walking and riding and in the senior section, vocational situations such as food production or hospitality are set up.








These roofed, outdoor spaces establish collective form as a series of social spaces at a scale between the classroom and the school as a whole. It allows learners to play and learn outside even in adverse weather conditions. In previous projects, we have explored the use of roofed, outdoor spaces as expressions of collective form such as in the Watershed located in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. In these explorations, collective form becomes the social heart of the architecture and the origin of urban connectivity. 

For in-depth reading and pictures on the project visit our website on: http://www.wolffarchitects.co.za/projects/all/special-needs-school/







The tour and talk was an insightful and educational experience for those who attended as they got an opportunity to question and  engage with the architects and space.Images:Lerato Maduna





Pumflet Luxurama


"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea" 

W.E.B Du Bois  in “Of the Dawn of Freedom (from the Souls of Black Folk,1903).

In the twenty first century many will argue that  W.E.B's  quote is still  very much relevant ,others may say it is all in the past and will/ not happen in the future.Must we let go of bygones already, does the past not affect our present day realities? Is closure the only way we can move forward

Pumflet Luxurama was commissioned by The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) as part of the  Live Art Festival 2018 . ''This interdisciplinary festival is designed to challenge and extend the public's experience of live art ,in a non-commercial environment and make accessible the work of visual and performing artists who explore new forms, confront audiences and experiment with perceptions". 

To help on the journey of creation/closure we asked ourselves these questions;
could one hold a funeral for a building? And if one could, what would it look like? What would it sound like? 







Visitors on a guided tour/Memorial service of the interior of the Luxurama theatre.
Images: Barry Christianson






We staged a funeral for the Luxurama Theatre, the once-iconic cultural institution in the heart of Wynberg, Cape Town. The building was where international acts such as Percy Sledge, Eartha Kitt, and Dusty Springfield performed and was the home of local giants such as Taliep Pietersen, Zayn Adams, and Winston Mankunku Ngozi.







Ilze Wolff reading passages from Pumflet Luxurama on the lobby area of the late
Images:Xolani Tulumani


Under apartheid’s weird separate amenities laws, it was the only place that could host shows for ‘mixed’ audiences. Today, the Lux is vacant and in disrepair, just like the many unsung freedom fighters and activists who once ,under the banner of the UDF used the Lux as a safe space for political underground meetings; on ways  towards freedom. 





Members of the community and ICA audiences came to witness the procession down Park Road in Wynberg.
Images: Barry Christianson




The mosque across the road  from the Lux has bought the building and they are renovating it for use as an Islamic school. 





The Winston Mankunku Jazz Foundation and the Themba Ngwenya Brass Band leading the procession
Images:Xolani Tulumani







Four generations of musicians participate in a farewell procession for a place that was once home  of the arts
Images:Xolani Tulumani





The procession down Park road with audiences walking along with it.
Image:Barry Christianson






Themba Ngwenya former boxer and principal ,has now dedicated his life to teaching and making music.
Image:Barry Christianson

The procession leading to Cosy corner for the after tears convening. 
Image:Xolani Tulumani



After the tour, we were led down Park Road by a funeral procession band made up of musicians from the Winston Mankunku Jazz Foundation led by Thulisile Ngozi, the brother of Winston Mankuku, who started this foundation in honour of Winston, and since Yakhal’inkomo debuted in 1968 at the Lux, it made sense for Mankunku to be present at the funeral of the theatre building, through his music. The Ngozi family were themselves victims of forced removals, having been moved from Retreat to Gugulethu in the early 70s.






Both the Winston Mankunku Jazz Foundation and the Themba Ngwenya Brass band are based in Gugulethu and open to people of all ages to learn an instrument.
Images:Paul Grendon



As with all funerals, we convened for tea, chatter and samoosas at Cosy Corner Take Aways at the end of Park Road, where the procession ended with a performance of Yakhal’inkomo, arranged specially by Thulisile.




The  After tears convening at Cosy Corner.
Images:Barry Christianson

view the full pumflet https://issuu.com/ilzewolff/docs/binder1



Pumflet Rondehuis & Exhibition


Cover Image:Paul Grendon


We invited you to submit your photograph of an oppressive space. 
We invited you to join the conversation around space, freedom and non-freedom. We invited you to challenge, with us, the oppressive bureaucracies, which through their indifference, stifle public conversations on the unfreedom experienced by architecture and in doing so, the articulation of ways out.We invited you to search with us for more antidotes.



The response was phenomenal 
1-50 Images














Photographers list





To view the full pumflet  follow the link:  https://issuu.com/ilzewolff/docs/pumfletrondehuis




The pumflet 'rondehuis' exhibition opened on the 17th of May 2018 at 5pm at Wolff Architects in Bo Kaap, Cape Town.

‘rondehuis’ documents a public conversation around space, freedom and non-freedom.

 On the night Chalwyn Thomas, a resident of Steinkopf and local researcher from  the Sandrift area ,gave a presentation on the construction and use, of the architecture of Namakwaland, and offered insight on the design of the rondehuis as well as the reed mat that is popular in the global south.

Images from the night



Installation of the exhibition  with chair to view





Chalwyn Thomas's presentation on the construction of the Rondehuis

Zuna Thomas reciting a poem she wrote in  khoekhoegowad of the Nama