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Louis Karol honored by SA Prof Serv Assn

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Cape Town architect Louis Karol received a lifetime award from the South African Professional Services Association in Johannesburg recently.

Carol - sa professional“Few architects in Cape Town command as much respect, and among some of his competitors, unease, as Louis Karol. Along with his commercial acumen and force of personality, he has had the wisdom to cultivate a stable of formidable designers, who are supported by an extremely efficient office. His projects are usually large, commercially successful and visually strong, sometimes stunning,” Roy Birkby wrote in 1998.

Karol arrived in South Africa as an eight-year-old immigrant in 1936 and established his practice immediately upon graduating with distinction from the University of Cape Town in 1952. He joined the Institute of Architects in the same year and has gone on to become a defining figure in the South African architectural profession.

He is the founder of ArchitectureSA and has served as chairman of its editorial board. His practice has been the recipient of no less than seven Institute awards, as well as the international FIABC Prix d’Excellence for Victoria Wharf at the V&A Waterfront, built on the same spot where he first arrived in South Africa.

For over six decades, Karol has worked with a passion for quality, and for delivering long-term commercial sustainability and architectural craftsmanship within a genre typified by disposability. He is equally passionate about the architectural education and development of his staff, with an in-house training and bursary programme for underprivileged students that has been in existence since 1981.

Although his firm’s commissions have spanned several cities and countries, its most substantial body of work has been in Cape Town, where buildings designed by him have helped to shape the developing city’s skyline and streets. 

His practice has been fiercely committed to the Cape Town city centre, where there remains barely a block that has not been touched by the practice in some way. Karol’s oeuvre, such as the Golden Acre (1976) and Victoria Wharf (1992 – 2009) have sought to re-integrate a city torn apart by apartheid and transport planning.

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