After graduating from the University of Cape Town in 2006, Karien joined Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects. Under the mentorship of Anya van der Merwe, Macio Miszewski and Lloyd Rubidge, she gained valuable experience working on the company’s diverse portfolio of building typologies. She was promoted to associate within two years of joining the company, and contributed to significant projects such as the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, Cannons Creek Primary School, the Gondwana Rest Camp at the Sanbona Wilderness Reserve, as well as a number of award winning private residential works.


In 2010, Karien became involved at the V&A Waterfront Silo District, with the construction of No 1 and No 2 Silo — the Allan Gray head office, and a high-end residential apartment building respectively. No 1 Silo was the first building in South Africa to achieve a 6 Star Green Star As Built Rating. This gave her extensive experience in the design and construction of sustainable, environmentally conscious buildings.


Her success with this prestigious project led to her assignment in 2013 as Lead Project Architect for the Executive Architects Team on the redevelopment of the V&A’s 100 year-old Grain Silo into the acclaimed Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) and the Silo Hotel.
Karien managed the local team made up of architects from VDMMA, RBA and Jacobs Parker. She also worked closely with world-renowned UK-based Design Architects, Heatherwick Studio until the completion of the now multi-award winning project in 2017. She left VDMMA in 2017 to work independently.


Karien was awarded the 2017 Mbokodo Award for Architecture, celebrating Achievement by Women in the Arts. She is currently collaborating with Open City Architects on a high-density residential project in Salt River, as well as a new Transport Interchange on South Africa’s West Coast.  Karien also lectures in the third year BAS studio at the University of Cape Town. She can also be heard on the Architectural audio tour of Zeitz MOCAA and enjoys taking guests and students on tours of the building.

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