studioMAS [architecture & urban design]
est. 2000. studioMAS was established at the dawn of the new millennium in response to the architectural and planning opportunities offered in South Africa. Design excellence is at the core of the service we offer. Our team’s design skills are tempered with our determination to consistently and sincerely deliver a quality product within the financial and time restraints of the client’s brief with a strong regard for environmental issues. Each and every appointment is regarded as a singular opportunity to achieve design ingenuity – making problems into opportunities and opportunities into reality. We avoid irresponsible (aesthetic) novelty, focusing instead on creative design solutions, sometimes borrowing and adapting successful solutions from the past. In this way we strive to design places, spaces
and environments that offer the end users quality life choices and add value to their lives.
We may be a small company, but as our projects prove, our ideas and ambitions are not. Whether we design a custom-made table in one of the houses we’ve designed or prepare an urban development framework for the inner-city, our work is guided by a complex, yet universal value system. This value system recognises that while buildings need to function according to a simple logic, they also need to offer added richness to their users … providing poetry for everyday life. But this is still not enough – we have to take the value system further, because we know that the projects we design do not exist in isolation – they form part of a much larger landscape. From urban to rural, cultural or natural landscapes, our work is more considered than egotistical. It aspires to materialise in brick and mortar
excellence and quality, so that in years to come the places we have created hold as much value then, as they do now.
On design (the creative process) logic and poetry
Our places and spaces are poetic yet rooted in logic. Logic (or common sense) guides our understanding of space, land and technology, but embodied in the structure is the ‘poetry’ that amplifies our work. Our patrons should expect functionality but anticipate more. Our task is to turn the useful into something beautiful. Our patrons expect functionality, but anticipate more. This is the paradox of design; the synergy of the tangible ‘common sense’ of logic and the intangible qualities of poetry.
On the environment – respect
Respect for the planet and life guides our work. The promise of an open field as a future city, town neighborhood, or building is our responsibility to consider with fortitude. Consideration for the environment is a measured achievement, and going green is not in the eye (or mind) of the beholder. We use various empirical measurement tools to illustrate our commitment. Our goal is to design environmentally friendly places that are comfortable environments for living in.
Real or not – authentic
Authenticity rather than ill conceived novelty guides our work, which is best understood when experienced. The experience though intangible is somehow more real to than the brick and mortar itself. Can stone, concrete and steel be brought to life, not for how it looks but for how it feels? Not for what is said about it, but what is suggested? The image of the walls becomes less important than the void it holds. Our buildings come to life in the courtyards, on the streets simply because of the considered relationship and configuration of architectural elements, space, place, city and landscape.
Iconic yet Accessible
Much of our work forms part of the ‘urbanscape’. Within this urban realm, our public buildings and spaces are as much a work of architecture as they are of urban design. So interrelated are the principles of best practice in architecture and ‘common sense’ urban planning, that it is difficult to pin-point which is stronger; the stature of our buildings or the fluid, open subtlety of the landscapes we create around them. This built context in concrete form brings with it great responsibility, as our buildings make places that have far reaching consequences. As much as we aim to create iconic and contextualised public buildings, we are aware that a far greater purpose underlies their existence; these are places in which people’s lives will unfold. With every project we consider whether our interventions will
improve a place over time, or in time devalue it. We believe in the quality of our work, that it improves the present, and in time. It’s an ethos that we will continue to build upon as we embark on our second decade.
On leadership – holism
In projects we lead the professional team so that our buildings and towns bear witness to our quest of achieving spatial integration and holism. The whole is more than the sum of the parts which is only as strong as the weakest link. Leadership implies partnership. We assist in formulating the vision which defines the end product. Our understanding of the world can offer unique insights that inspire design, create the vision and conceive the places and spaces of our patrons.
On the future – legacy
We change the future today, every day. We have our eye on tomorrow but are rooted in the present, aware of the past. Every new day is an opportunity to discover new solutions that reveal beauty in areas which we have not explored previously. Changing paradigms can bring ideals into reality, making new permutations feasible and revitalize old ones. We are exploring new evolving patterns which become tomorrow’s realities. Our values are embodied in the built environment we leave behind – we are proud of our architectural legacy.