About Us

 

Our practice

Gabriela Seco established her practice in Johannesburg in 1999, shortly after her return from the USA, where she had completed her master degree in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The practice derives its character from a passion for architecture, a love for engaging with clients, and a sensitive approach to each new design challenge. Above all, we are committed to excellence in everything we do. As designers we strive to produce innovative, well designed and environmentally appropriate solutions that are informed by the specific climate, context and character of a site, contribute positively to the built environment and add to quality of life. As professionals we endeavour at all times to render exceptional service during all work stages of a project, and to deliver a quality product fully responsive to the client’s brief, and developed within the client’s defined financial and time constraints.

In the residential market we work on individual houses of all scales, estate housing and group housing, and have significant expertise in interventions within a heritage context. In the public and commercial sectors, we take on smaller to medium-sized projects, with prior experience including museums and libraries, hotels, restaurants and club houses, industrial buildings, corporate offices and commercial interiors.

1

DESIGN

We undertake a full design process, from inception and clarification of the briefing parameters and first conceptual ideas, to refinement at a detail level, aiming at all times to offer a bespoke solution, which answers all the client’s needs and expectations.
2

TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT

We work towards full technical resolution and working drawing documentation of a design in 3D parametric modelling software.
Through good working relationships with a network of professionals in related fields, such as engineering, quantity surveying and town planning, we can assist to ensure all your needs are covered.
3

STATUTORY APPROVALS

We work towards full compliance of your project with applicable building codes and standards and undertake the necessary steps to put in place statutorily required approvals, such as site development plan and building plan submissions, or heritage and town planning consent applications.
4

PROCUREMENT

We guide our clients through the steps of moving from design to implementation.
We assist with the procurement of services from principal building contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers through tendering, quotes or negotiation, as may be required on a project, and assist with evaluation and preparation for contract signing.
5

CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION

We offer a full professional contract administration service in the context of industry-standard construction contracts as principal agents on behalf of a client. We take a project through from site handover to final completion.
6

PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT

In all our projects we endeavour to maintain a constructive, personal working relationship with our clients, to listen and give professional advice in equal measure, in an ongoing effort to ensure our client’s highest expectations are met.

Gabriela Seco

M Arch (UPenn, Pennsylvania, USA)
B Arch (UNC, Córdoba, Argentina)
Pr Arch (SACAP Reg. No. 5301)
MI Arch (SAIA Member No 6731)

Gabriela Seco established her practice in Johannesburg in May 1999 after years of study and work, which reinforced her love for architecture, and shaped her particular approach to the profession.

Her professional education was initially anchored through a Bachelor of Architecture degree from National University of Córdoba, Argentina (1980-1986). She later furthered her professional qualifications through a number of specialized master classes at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, which led to her Master Degree of Architecture with commendation in 1996. Under the theme “Space, Subject and Language”, the master classes included studies on the application of advanced technology in architecture, and studio design work on tensile and glass structures under Peter McCleary and James Carpenter. She subsequently conducted field work and studies as part of the University’s  ongoing community development and the restoration program for the Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, USA, under the direction of Tony Atkins. Gabriela also was a member during the summer 1995 of the architectural team at the Aphrodisias Archaeological Dig-Research Project Survey, at Geyre, Turkey, which was run by the New York University. The architectural team assisted the team of archaeologists with documentation of excavations and finds.

Prior to her masters studies Gabriela worked for the Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Restoration Department, Córdoba Ministry of Culture, where she was involved in the restoration of historical monuments. She was part of the team of architects which supervised the restoration of the Museum Marques de Sobremonte and the Theatre General San Martin. She was recruited from Córdoba to join Meyer Pienaar Architects in Johannesburg, where she worked for two years. She was a director at Messaris Wapenaar Architects, Johannesburg, prior to setting out on her own.

Gabriela has travelled extensively and now lives in Johannesburg with her husband, with whom she shares a love of exploring cites and natural wild places alike.

Jennifer Dean

M Arch (Prof) (University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)
Pr Arch (SACAP Reg. No. 26658883)

Jennifer Dean started her architectural studies at Wits in 2006. After her undergraduate years she spent a few years working as an architectural technologist at a financial institution, before returning to university to complete her professional masters degree.

Thereafter she spent a year at an architectural firm managing a few government tendered projects, prior to joining Gabriela Seco Architects.

Jennifer registered as a professional architect in 2017 and works together with Gabriela in realising and translating ideas into drawings, producing graphics and generally learning all she can about the industry. She loves photography and travelling as an extension of her professional interests and has contributed significantly to the photographic content of this site.