Peter Rich Architects

About Peter Rich Architects

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Peter Rich ArchitectsPeter Rich Architects is a practice dedicated to the creation of authentic contemporary African architecture.We strive to create places and spaces that are meaningful, moving and uplifting for all who occupy them.

For us, every project is different, demanding a bespoke solution. We work from first principles, working closely with clients and communities. Through sustained research into local context and conditions we develop solutions that are unique to their time and place.

Peter Rich Architects innovate on all projects, involving only the most talented consultants, from the very start of the design process.

Peter Rich Architects believe that technology should empower local people, contribute to the development of communites and build livelihoods.

Peter Rich Architects pride ourselves in designing and delivering high quality bespoke buildings that respond to the unique demands of the client and context.

During the 1970s, as a reaction to the destruction of South African indigenous settlements under apartheid, Peter researched and documented the traditional rural settlements of the southern ama-Ndebele. His work, consisting of measured hand drawn documentation and analytical sketches was brought to a local and international audience though extensive publication and prolific lecturing.

As a practicing architect and as Professor of Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg for 30 years, he developed a contemporary architectural vocabulary that built on his research. This was, controversially, a fusion of modernist influences (notably Loos, RM Schindler and Guedes) and spatial models derived from a local tribal vernacular.

Peter soon began to engage with tribal communities, acting as an architect, a facilitator or an activist, believing that it was ordinary people who were most in need of his services.

After 1994, the establishment of democracy allowed Peter to engage with a series of important cultural heritage projects. All of these projects were funded by the South African government, using Cultural tourism initiatives to battle poverty and heal the deep wounds of apartheid.

A significant body of distinctive work is testament to a lifetime commitment to the creation of an architecture borne from a deep understanding of context achieved through sustained research into local conditions and close collaboration with communities.

The Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre (awarded the “Building of the Year” at the World Architecture Festival in 2009) and the Alexandra Heritage Centre, both recently completed, have been widely published and applauded as mature built works, a culmination of a lifetimes passion for architecture and the uniquely African.

In 2010, in recognition of his achievements, Peter was awarded the prestigious Honorary Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects and The South African Institute of Architects Gold Medal (the highest award for Architectural achievement in South Africa).

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