Phill Mashabane

We join the global architecture community in mourning the passing of renowned South African architect, Phill Mashabane. He dedicated over 30 years to shaping the architectural landscape of South Africa and beyond. Mashabane’s legacy of excellence, social impact and education will forever be remembered by all who knew him. His journey was not only about architectural marvels, but also about touching lives and shaping communities.  

Architectural practice 

In 1995, Mashabane co-founded Mashabane Rose Associates (MRA) alongside his dear friend, the late Jeremy Rose. Over the span of three decades, his work spanned various sectors – from commercial to residential, from retail to education, with a particular focus on preserving our rich heritage. 

His passion for architecture knew no bounds. His portfolio stands as a testament to his dedication and vision for a better, more beautiful world. 

Beyond architecture 

Mashabane’s impact extended far beyond his architectural achievements. He was a committed educator, sharing his knowledge and wisdom with students across Africa. He was a mentor, friend and guiding light for countless aspiring architects. 

His pursuit of knowledge was relentless, as evidenced by his completion of Harvard Law School’s Programme on Negotiation and Leadership in 2019, among many other academic qualifications. 

Among his many accolades, Mashabane was honoured with the South African Professional Services Awards (SAPSA) Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Architecture in 2016. This award was a recognition of his unwavering commitment to excellence and his profound impact on the profession.  

Phill Mashabane

The Origins Centre (Museum of Rock Art) at the University of Witwatersrand. The Origins Centre explores the Southern African rock art heritage and the origins of modern man. The north-facing cafeteria allows views over this desert-like Kalahari landscape, to the distant Magaliesberg Mountains. Visitors move through the central courtyard and into the south (museum) building, where the main body of the narrative unfolds. Credit: Mashabane Rose

Phill Mashabane

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Located in Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg, the academy is planned around two “streets” originating from a central gathering space. The “street of learning” extends from the library to the north, and situated either side are the classroom and laboratory blocks. The “street of living” extends from the dining hall to the east, and situated either side are the senior and junior dormitory blocks. Credit: Mashabane Rose

Phill Mashabane

The Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto, South Africa. The building is fronted by a public open space in the centre of Orlando West that is unfenced, and today is still undamaged by vandalism. It is heavily used by locals criss-crossing it on their way to work and transport points, and visitors wandering around the commemorative space. Credit: Mashabane Rose, photo by Caroline Suzman

Phill Mashabane

The Freedom Park Museum, Freedom Park Trust, Pretoria. This iconic structure was designed in a joint venture between Mashabane Rose Associates, GAPP Architects and Urban Designers and MMA Architects. It is rated amongst “10 of the world’s most architecturally striking museums”. Credit: Mashabane Rose

Heritage conservation 

Mashabane was deeply involved in various cultural and educational initiatives. His contributions to projects such as the South African Apartheid Museum, Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum and Mandela House Museum speak volumes about his dedication to preserving our heritage and educating future generations.  


Mourning the loss of an architectural icon, Phill Mashabane, who was a legend. 


Our condolences to the Mashabane family, and full acknowledgement to them and for the information in this article. 

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