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The Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) was founded

in 2015 as a separate, autonomous school within the

Department of Architecture at UJ. It is the youngest

and arguably the most dynamic school on the African

continent. In two short years, it has quadrupled its intake

of Master’s students, making it now one of the largest

postgraduate schools in the country.

We run the world-famous Unit System method of

teaching (which we’ve rather cheekily called

Unit System

Africa), first pioneered by the Architectural Association in

London in 1971. In 2015, we began with three Units; in 2017

there are six. We plan to continue this growth, expanding

by at least two new Units per year, until our target of 12

postgraduate Units by 2020. It’s a

competitive, innovative

and challenging

system and we think it’s the best way to

get the best out of both staff and students. Most of our

teaching staff are part-time practitioners with national

and international reputations and links. Some 75% of

students elect to re-join the same Unit in the second

year of the programme and, with at least two new Units

being added per year, the choice we offer in terms of

interests, research agendas, contexts and perspectives is

unparalleled. In addition to our studios at the Faculty of

Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), we also have an inner-

city ‘base’, the

GA_P (Graduate Architecture Platform)


The GSA runs a host of public programmes, including


GSA – Boogertman + Partners International Lecture


, which in 2016 will bring seven international

architects, including Andrew Freear of the Rural Studio

and Bjarke Ingels of B.I.G. Copenhagen, London & New

York to Johannesburg. It also offers local architects like

Thomas Chapman and Kate Otten a platform for sharing

their work with a new generation of up-and-coming

architects. Our FADA Gallery, Write of Passage, features

student and staff work on a changing basis and the end-

of-year show, the

GSA Summer Show

in November is now

a fixture on the Johannesburg architectural calendar.


School of Architecture (GSA)