Kate Otten is the principal in KATE OTTEN ARCHITECTS.
The Department of Architecture, University of the Free State instituted the Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture in honour of the first architect active in a professional capacity in Bloemfontein, who was also the first woman architect in South Africa.
The architect or architects selected by the staff of the Department of Architecture for the annual lecture and exhibition are those considered to have made a fundamental contribution to the praxis of architecture, the theoretical debate within the profession or to professional matters. This lecture and exhibition series also aim to highlight the contribution that architects and architecture make to society and to create positive role models for the student body.
Kate Otten has accepted the invitation to present the 25th Sophia Gray Lecture and exhibition. Kate's work seeks to develop an architectural language that responds inventively to local conditions of available skills, materials, climate, client, user and site. Her focus is a search for an African identity in architecture that reflects the uniqueness of our landscape, context and way of life. The work is mindful of place and people and considers sustainability from a social, economic and environmental perspective – sustainability of the human spirit is key to her thinking. Whilst there is a common language through Kate's work, each building is unique, specifically responding to its own site, materiality and brief.
Kate Otten Architects was established in 1989, the work has received numerous awards and has been widely published both locally and internationally. The body of work is diverse in scale and type, including a variety of residential and commercial projects, as well as public and community buildings such as therapy centres, historic restorations and museums. Through the work of her practice and personally through her activity in architectural education and through bodies such as the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (Gifa), Kate has made a valuable contribution to South African architecture practice and discourse.
Submitted by William MARTINSON
All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.