University Of Johannesburg GSA, The GSA (Graduate School of Architecture) at the University of Johannesburg founded in 2015 with a simple mandate: to transform contemporary African architectural education. Located in Johannesburg, one of the world’s most exciting and challenging cities, we aim to offer a world-class architectural educational experience to our students. We are the continent’s only dedicated post-graduate school of architecture and the only African school to offer the world-renowned Unit System way of teaching, first pioneered by London’s Architectural Association in the 1970s. The African continent is a uniquely challenging and creative laboratory which gives our students and tutors the edge in finding and exploring new ways to think and do work.
THE GSA STUDIOS – FADA
(UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG)
Our GSA Studios are located at FADA, within the Faculty and alongside the eight other departments of FADA, including the Undergraduate Programme, the DoA.
Dedicated studio spaces, a seminar room and a common room are available to all GSA students on a first-come, first-served basis at the beginning of the year.
As the school continues to grow and expand, we are looking for additional studio spaces both at FADA and at our downtown home, the GAP.
(GRADUATE ARCHITECTURE PLATFORM)
Our 700sqm review and exhibition space, located on the mezzanine level of the former Museum of African Design at 281 Commissioner Street is our flagship public venue.
Our international lecture series talks are held here, as well as our Crossover exhibitions held three times a year and all student reviews. With ample wall space and a bar, we encourage our students, their friends and families to make this wonderful industrial building in the heart of the city a regular go-to space for all things architectural.
In April this year, the GSA received full and unconditional accreditation of its professional programme, the M Tech (Prof). As the exit report stated, ‘“(I)t must also be emphasised that SACAP patently does not expect a homogeneous educational environment – rather, it encourages a diversity of philosophies, focuses and themes.”
In this context, the Visiting Board acknowledges that implementation of the Unit System at the GSA is a bold and positive move for architectural education in South Africa and notes that significant innovation is evident in the system’s application and localisation. The view of the Visiting Board is that the programme is student-centric, culturally inclusive and highly relevant to the South African and African context. The Board was particularly encouraged by the entrepreneurial and activist stance of the GSA in relation to broadening the modes of practice of architecture, and how this stance played out in the work of students. The proportion of black students within the GSA is notable as amongst the highest of any Master’s programme in South Africa. It is evident that one of the key successes of the application of the Unit System, has been the creation of space for black students to find their voice and express their architectural identity through their research and design work, an important step against the backdrop of the agenda for decolonisation of higher education.