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Supervisors: Dr Max Sternberg & Prof Iain Low


Research overview:

This research explores the role of school-spaces in the post-apartheid city. Many schools in South Africa are socially and spatially isolated, a condition that reduces their transformative capacity. As highly prevalent public institutions, schools have potential to play a meaningful and possibly catalytic role in addressing spatial inequality through careful place-making which expands their civic role. This claim will be examined through post-occupancy analysis of the design intentions and lived reality of state-subsidised schools in Cape Town, focusing on socio-spatial qualities. The fieldwork will engage architects, school communities and government officials through interviews, site visits and observations of the school-spaces in use, as well as employing architectural techniques to analyse schools’ spatial configuration and built fabric.  Collaborative workshops with school communities and architects will encourage co-production in an essential move towards repositioning southern places as sites of knowledge production. While this research works across scales and bridges spatial, educational, and social research, it has an architectural focus and is oriented towards informing strategic design responses to enrich the role of schools in the post-apartheid city.  



Juliet is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, funded by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Skye Foundation. She holds a Masters in Architecture (MArch) from the University of Cape Town and is a registered architect (PrArch) in South Africa, with several years’ experience working in urban and architectural practice. Juliet supervises undergraduate architectural students and is a co-founder of the School Design Study Group at Cambridge University. She convened the Cambridge City Seminar series in 2022.