The Open Architecture educational model was conceptualised as an alternative tertiary augmentation to the existing full time study route to becoming an architectural professional in South Africa. It is being rolled out by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) as one of its transformation projects aligned to Skills Development to address the educational and structural bottlenecks being experienced on the currently available model.

Current statistics reveal that the bulk of previously disadvantaged persons in the field of Architecture are registered at Draughtsperson, Technologist or Senior Technologist levels. In many cases it is affordability that precludes advancement of qualifications. Most are unable to give up employment to return to full-time study due to life commitments and those who can study full-time, often find it difficult to gain admission into an academic institution, constrained by student intake restrictions.

The model aims at portability through easy access via the internet from the office of a registered architectural practice and also offers access to students situated away from the major centres where there is limited access to universities.

Students must be employed by a SACAP registered Professional Senior Architectural Technologist or Professional Architect, supported by the office and allowed to use some of its time and resources towards studying, as well as access to an approved mentor allocated to guide their studies.


The Open Architecture model is implemented through registration and graduation from an existing Architectural Learning Site (ALS) at an accredited University or University of Technology.

The first Higher Education Institution to partner with Open Architecture is the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). In 2014, a two year blended part-time BTech Architectural Technology (Applied Design) programme commenced. The admission criteria, fees, curriculum, assessment, selection and moderation processes are aligned with the equivalent full time programme. The course is facilitated by Open Architecture to suit part-time studies, employing alternative modes of work integrated learning delivery optimising office-based mentoring, online engagement and on-campus block release interaction.

A number of students have been admitted through an RPL process which enables students with no prior academic qualifications but at least ten years of work experience to apply for admission to the degree programme. The students come from many different places: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Polokwane in South Africa; Windhoek in Namibia; and Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.

The OA/CPUT programme was implemented in 2014 and in 2015 and 2016 the first two cohorts completed the programme and were awarded their degrees at the CPUT Graduation ceremony.

For more information and videos, see


OA Programme Director: Lone Poulsen
+ 27 82 699 7269

CPUT coordinator: Jolanda Morkel
+ 21 460 2232, + 27 83 262 9032