meet director    LUYANDA MPAHLWA


Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Cape Town based Architect and Urban Designer obtained his Masters in Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He is the Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa DesignSpaceAfrica, the architecture and design firm he founded in 2009. His architectural education in South Africa was interrupted when he was incarcerated on Robben Island Prison in 1981 for his anti-apartheid political activities. After his release from a 5 year prison term in 1986, he went into exile in Germany, where he spent 15 years in Berlin. He relocated back to South Africa in 2000 and established the Cape Town Studio of MMA Architects where he was Director/Partner for 12 years. He is a member of South African professional bodies: SACAP; SAIA; CiFA; UDISA and SABTACO. He has participated as a Thesis External Examiner in various Universities, UCT, UKZN, WITS and NMMU and also served in the Advisory Committee of CPUT. From 2004-2008 he served in the UCT University Council and is currently serving in the Council of Walter Sisulu University.


Luyanda was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science and Technology from the Walter Sisulu University for his contribution and critical thought on innovative technologies and design for social change. He is a commentator on Design and Urban development matters in South Africa and part of the dialogue on African Cities. He has participated in various local and international Architecture and Design conferences in the USA; Germany, Netherlands, India and the African Continent. He served as Bid Committee member for the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 initiative from inception and in 2011 participated in the award ceremony in Taipei where ICSID awarded Cape Town the designation, World Design Capital 2014. Luyanda has now been nominated by ICSID on the adjudicating panel for World Design Capital 2018. 


These include: Starting his architecture career with the Architectural firm Pysall&Ruge Architetekten in Germany 1997, where he became site architect for the Nordic Embassies project in Berlin. Receiving the Award of Excellence, for the South African Embassy Building, Berlin from the South African Institute of Architecture; the first recipient of the USA based Curry Stone Design Prize in 2008 for the Sandbag 10x10 Design Indaba Low Cost House in Mitchells Plein, Cape Town. Luyanda was a member of the Organising Committee’s Technical Team which provided oversight project management for the construction of all World Cup stadia for the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa. Since May 2010 he has been serving in the Council of Robben Island Museum. 



2014 ICON magazine interview 

To read more about Luyanda's vision for social change in South Africa click here