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SEIRLIS, Joan Mackenzie

Born: 1936
Died: 2015 11 09


"Joan made it her personal mission to highlight and bring about meaningful changes regarding universal access in architecture. Her persuasive, ground breaking work has and will continue to change architecture and the benefits it can bring to society long into the future; a proud legacy for which Joan will always be remembered."
Obert Chakarisa - Chief Executive Officer, South African Institute of Architects

SAIA Obituary

Joan Mackenzie SEIRLIS practiced alongside her late husband, Manol SEIRLIS, in the Pinetown based practice of MYLES, PUGH, SHERLOCK, SEIRLIS AND JARVIS, and later joined the DURBAN MUNICIPALITY, and practiced under her own style.

Through an accident that occurred to her son, Ari, that left him paralysed, Joan was introduced to the hardships that persons with impaired mobility experience on a daily basis. Joan made this her quest and engaged in assisting in changing building regulations to enable universal access, and gave lectures nationally and internationally on what she termed "good design for all".

More recently Joan developed modules in Universal Design for Architecture and Interior Design Schools, which were rolled out in February 2015 in KZN.

Additionally, Joan wrote numerous medico-legal reports both for the state attorney and private law firms on rectifying physical environments for persons who have suffered injuries at the hands of government employees. As a specialist in the field of universal accessibility, she represented UIA region 5 at the architecture for all forum. Her input in large scale projects was well sought after and include contributions to the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the IRPTN Project in Pietermaritzburg.

Joan will be remembered as being determined, passionate, dedicated, humble, nurturing and loving.

SAIA mourns the loss of a member who has made a mark in architectural history; one who has changed our environment for the universal betterment of all.

Joan leaves behind her son and daughter, Ari and Angela, and twin sister, Lilleth.

(Submitted by William MARTINSON)

In 2016 she received the SAIA Medal of Distinction.