Talking Architecture Series #2: Ilze & Heinrich Wolff (Wolff Architects)

Talking Architecture is a series of live interviews hosted by the course Talking Architecture (VIS 2359), conducted by students and moderated by Instructor Diego Grass. These events are spin-offs of GSD-sponsored public lectures held during the semester. They intend to extend the conversations between these guests and the GSD community.

In this second session, we talked with Ilze and Heinrich Wolff, founding principals of Wolff Architects (, based in Cape Town, South Africa, since 2012.

Heinrich Wolff (1970-) is an architect and project manager with over 20 years of experience. From 19998 to 2012, he was a partner with Jo Noero in the firm Noero Wolff Architects. His work has been awarded the Daimler Chrysler Award for Architecture (2007), the Lubetkin Award (2005), and in 2011 he was elected as the Designer of the Future by the Wouter Mikmak Foundation. He has been a visiting professor at the ETH in Zürich (2014-2015), IUAV in Venice(2013), Washington University in St. Louis (2015), and Harvard University (2021). He has been an adjunct associate professor at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Ilze Wolff (1980-) is a partner of Wolff and graduated with a B.Arch at the UCT. She received a Mphil in Heritage and Public Culture, African Studies Unit, UCT. Ilze co-founded Open House Architecture in 2007, a transdisciplinary research practice which she continues to direct parallel to Wolff. In 2017, she published “Unstitching Rex Trueform – The Story of an African Factory,” research on colonial and post-colonial spaces in modern architecture.

Both principals have taught and lectured internationally, including Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the USA, Canada, Japan, and India, and continue to do so. The practice has also been included at various international exhibitions, including the Venice Architecture Biennale, Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Architectural Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennale, and the South American Architecture Biennale.

This interview was conducted on March 26, 2021, and questions were performed by students Shane Ah-Siong, Selwyn Bachus, Jack Chen, Chris D’amico, Alaa Hamid, Noy Mizrachi, Tara Oluwafemi, Gabrielle Redding, Kenismael Santiago-Pagan, and Sheng Zhao.

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