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List of Projects




A firm with Carin SMUTS as principal.

CS Studio Architects (CSSA) first projects were initiated in Lingelihle, Cradock Eastern Cape, South Africa in 1982 when Carin Smuts was still an architectural student at the University of Cape Town School of Architecture. In 1985 both Urs Schmidt, from Aarau, Switzerland and Carin Smuts worked for a Cape Town based firm PRINSLOO, PARKER, FLINT, ELLIOT AND VAN DEN HEEVER for 5 years.

During this time they started working on community projects after their regular working hours. This work was in Cradock, Namaqualand and Mitchell’s Plein. In 1989 they decided to formally start CS Studio Architects. The practice has a reputation locally and internationally to produce innovative cost-effective design solutions using participatory processes. Focusing on using local human and material resources. Recycling of found components is also characteristic of their work. The design and building process focusses on engagement of local stakeholders where possible.

CSSA collaborates with many international tertiary institutions. One collaboration example is the building of a children’s theatre as part of the Langa Guga S’thebe Cultural Village. The first phase was done in 1999 by CS Studio Architects. With AIT magazine’s Kristina Bach funds were raised over a 10-year period to build the second phase, a children’s theatre. The main collaborators are AIT Hamburg, RWTH Aachen University, Peter Behrens School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology, Imagine Structure and CS Studio Architects. A fire destroyed it in 2019. It has been rebuilt and finishes like acoustic elements were done by UCT second year students in collaboration with Clint Abrahams.

CSSA runs workshops with numerous institutions and the main focus is on challenging conventional architectural teaching and exploring alternative models. They work with different topics, but with a focus on Global Issues, natural and manmade disasters, migration, recycling, passive design, etc. The challenges facing practising architects are seldom related to the conventional teaching in Schools of Architecture worldwide.

Carin Smuts has collaborated with Odile Decq and the Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture in Paris, France. In South Africa she is actively involved with the CPIA. She has also collaborated with Jenny Steenberg and her team on the research project “Compact Cities and Informal Settlements” Chalmers University of Technology (2019).

She teaches part time at the University of Cape Town (UCT), School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics as guest lecturer for the second-year students. Further, she teaches part-time in Réunion Island at École d’ Architecture de la Réunion.

In conclusion, the practice of CS Studio Architects believes that architects can contribute to creating vibrant urban environments where users can feel safe and happy.

Carin Smuts – was awarded the global award for sustainable architecture in Paris
2008 Guga S’thebe received International Academy for Design and Health award 2010
Uia 2014 mention 2014 Vassilis Sgoutas prize
Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres, 2015, French Minister of Culture
Medal of urban design, 2016, French Academy of Architecture
Uia 2017 Sir Robert Matthew prize
Equal ARVHA (Association pour la Recherche sur la Ville et l'Habitat) international prize for woman architects 2017 - special mention - Paris December 2017
SAIA Gold Medal for Architecture of 2019 (received 2023)

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Blikkiesdorp on Ocean View: c1950 : 2005. Sea Point, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect 2005
Caledon Helderstroom Prison: 2001-2009. Caledon, Western Cape - Architect and Landscape
Dawid Klaaste Multipurpose Centre: 2005. Bergsig, Laingsburg, Western Cape - Architect
House Bester: 1996. Kuilsrivier, Western Cape - Architect
Symphony Way Community Day Centre: 2011. Delft, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Unobuntu Multi-Purpose Centre: 1990–1998. Worcester, Western Cape - Architect
Wesbank Multi-Purpose Centre: 2006-2008. Wesbank, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Wesbank Primary School: 1999-2000. Kuilsrivier, Western Cape - Architect


Muwanga, Christina. 1998. South Africa : a guide to recent architecture. London : Köln: Ellipsis : Könemann. pp 104-105, 112-115

Phaidon. 2004. Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture, The. London: Phaidon. pp 643