Makhosazana (Khosi) Mthethwa is an architect who is passionate about developments that seek to create connections between society, with nature and the rest of the environment. Walls & Roofs sat down with Khosi to talk about this increasingly important specialisation.
Q: Tell us about your journey in architecture.
A: I studied at the University of Cape Town from 2008 and completed my masters’ degree in architecture cum laude in 2013. For the past 13 years, I have been working with sustainable buildings as a green building design consultant and professional architect in leading groups in South Africa, with the following awards and accreditations:
- Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Green Rising Star Industry Award recipient in 2022.
- Green Star accredited professional: New buildings.
- Green Star accredited professional: Net-zero.
- Green Star accredited professional: Interior fit-out.
- WELL Buildings accredited professional.
- EcoDestricts accredited professional.
Q: What excites you most about your job/profession?
A: In this profession you must be interactive with different members of the team and build camaraderie with different professionals in the industry. Design teams I work with typically follow an integrated design approach, which is a collaborative process that focusses on the design, construction, operation and occupancy of a building over its complete lifecycle.
I enjoy working with tools like WELL Buildings, which have some focus of biophilia principles – which cultivates a sense of custodianship over the natural environment and its systems, therefore being important to sustainability and regenerative design agendas.
I also have a passion for knowledge sharing and academia as a means of my continuous personal growth, as well as to support education within the industry and learning institutions.
Q: What do you wish you’d known earlier?
A: The industry is very fast paced, and most programmes are relatively tight. Ensuring that sustainability principles are considered from very early on in a design process is important for all design team members and contractors. This is particularly important when looking to building net-zero energy developments.
Q: What three words would people use to describe you?
A: I’m an energetic and creative specialist architectural designer with a drive to achieve high-performance, climate-responsive built environments.
Q: What is your message to other women in the industry?
A: One of my biggest drivers is continual learning. A curious mind is a creative mind, so keep learning. With this you’ll be able to continue being relevant in this fast-changing industry and you’ll be an innovative thought leader. In the boardroom and on the construction site, speak up and be confident in yourself – people want to hear your thoughts and solutions. You have a lot to offer.
Support other women in the industry, whether it’s through referrals or advice. Let us empower each other. Remember to work smart and have a good work-life balance and above all, be kind to yourself and others.
“There is so much to learn out there – different design approaches, innovative solutions and different ways or tools to measure success in sustainable architecture design.” – Khosi Mthethwa
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