Karin Ström



To bring strategic and creative thinking skills to bear on architectural and cultural heritage projects; to effectively use my knowledge, along with intuitive thinking and innovative ideas; to stimulate insight and facilitate common understanding of heritage in broader community.


  • Heritage management, architectural project management, and team management skills
  • Architect (Pr. Arch, SACAP 21284) – graduate of University of Cape Town
  • Understanding and affinity for heritage values, and the application of heritage law
  • Excellent researcher well versed in property and cultural research methodology
  • Experienced at building plans assessment from a heritage perspective, with ability to make recommendations for improvement where necessary
  • Well-honed capacity for understanding sites and cultural landscapes and making heritage-related recommendations affecting them
  • Experience at the City in dealing with building plan assessment and working with the public
  • Experience undertaking heritage survey work including assessment and grading of structures
  • Taught architectural design, construction and heritage principles at University level, part time over several years, currently lecturing at CPUT
  • More than 20 year’s heritage and architecture experience, trained by leading practitioners
  • Strong interpersonal, communicative and organisational skills
  • A flexible approach – ability to cope with change and adapt to situations as they occur
  • Excellent written and verbal skills, excellent design skills, and a good head for figures



Bachelor of Architecture, University of Cape Town, 1992 (preceded by Bachelor of Arch Studies, 1988) – First class in Design, and in HATA [History and Theory of Architecture], Top student in HATA, Dean’s Merit List


CAREER HISTORY                                                                                                      [1999-present]


Job Overview: Work in Architectural and Heritage Practice “SDKS Architects”, assisting with management, and working as the practice’s primary Heritage Practitioner. Heritage work is well-integrated into the architectural practice, with interest in sensitive built environments key to design. In the course of my career, taking on part- time contracts teaching at UCT, and at CPUT, or doing contract heritage work for the City of Cape Town, has supplemented work in practice, providing intellectual stimulation and challenge.

Key roles in practice “SDKS Architects”:

  • Management responsibilities for the operational and business development aspects of practice
  • Key role player in the creative architectural work produced
  • Writing proposals and recommending client budgets, with Q.S. assistance
  • Carrying out “full architectural service”, through design, approvals, and contract administration
  • Client service and account management
  • Strategy, conceptual thinking and design briefing (for projects with or without Heritage content)
  • Heritage research of all kinds
  • Producing reports, editing and proofreading
  • Producing illustrative work for reports
  • Practice accounts and budgeting
  • Personnel management


March 1995 – Nov 1998: Architect in training and Design Architect, at “Architects Associated CC”, Cape Town, under the guidance of Dieter Bossow and Prof. Julian Cooke. During this period took six months away from Architect’s Associated, October 1995 to March 1996, to work at the City of Cape Town’s Urban Conservation Unit on a short term, full-time contract, and continuing at the City for a few months on a part time basis after March 1996 – see below

January 1992 – March 1995: Architect in training and research assistant with “Todeschini and Japha”, (incl. Derek Japha, Vivienne Japha, and Fabio Todeschini), UCT academics, Heritage practitioners, Architects and Town Planners (first job after graduation from U.C.T)

1988-9: In the practical year between the two architectural degrees, lived and worked in London, UK. In a large city firm, worked on heritage projects, notably the upgrade of a massive 6 storey late 19th century hotel. On returning to South Africa, worked for architects doing a range of building inserts and upgrades to Michaelhouse School, a significant heritage complex. Both these jobs afforded valuable early insights into working with architecture, and heritage.


Apr 2003 – June 2005: Heritage Contract Architect, for South Peninsula (mainly for Muizenberg, St James, Kalk Bay, Clovelly and Fish Hoek, occasionally helping out with Wynberg)

– Working bi-weekly at South Peninsula office, and in the field, reviewed all design alterations submitted for Heritage sites in the region. An important role was leading the City’s review process for the design proposal and related Heritage Impact Assessment for the Muizenberg Beach Precinct. Was also a member of the City’s team reviewing the submission of the large “New Kings and Majestic” project in Kalk Bay.

Oct 1995 – March 1996   and Apr – May 1996: Heritage officer, City of Cape Town Urban Conservation Unit

– Reviewed building plans for altering buildings of varied scale, suggesting design amendments sensitive to heritage and environmental policy.

– Carried out survey work (map and photo research, and field work) identifying heritage sites in the areas of Camps Bay and Brooklyn.


Ström, Karin, Erf 46247 Cape Town ‘Avenue House’ Rondebosch,  Section 34 Application”, in progress

Ström, Karin, Erf 4263 Somerset West, (Aan die Weg) Report for Graham Jacobs as component of Section 34 Application”, submitted 12 August 2015

Ström, Karin, Heritage Motivation: Section 34 Application, Glen Lyon, Orchard Street, Newlands, Cape Town”, submitted to HWC, March 2015

Ström, Karin, Heritage Motivation: Section 34 Application, “Maitland Pool Complex” Erf 174308, Royal Road, Maitland, submitted to HWC and the City of Cape Town, Nov-Dec 2014.

Ström, Karin, with Cindy Postlethwayt & Melanie Attwell, Stories of the South Peninsula: Historical research, stories and Heritage Tourism Opportunities in the South Peninsula”, for the City of Cape Town, June 2014

Ström, Karin, Heritage Motivation: Section 34 Application, Erf 269, 15 Ave des Longuevilles, Fresnaye, submitted to HWC, Feb 2014

Ström, Karin, Architectural heritage review and measured drawings, for Heritage Motivation: Section 34 Application, Farm 644, Phillippi, submitted by C. Postlethwayt to HWC, Jan 2014

Ström, Karin, “Building towns in the Hinterland of War: settling labourers in the towns of the Overberg during the years of the last Frontier Wars, 1850 -1880”, Talk presented at VASSA, October 2013 (publication draft current)

Ström, Karin, “Robertson, 1853-1905: a study of the development of the town and of the architecture”, in VASSA Journal, No. 26, Dec 2012, ISSN: 1562-5257.

Ström, Karin, Heritage Motivation: Section 34 Application, Erf 45186/7, “The Thatches”, 34 Bonair Road, Rondebosch, submitted to HWC, July 2012

Ström, Karin, Heritage Motivation: Section 34 Application, Erf 45281, 8 Silwood Road, Rondebosch, submitted to HWC, June 2012

Ström, Karin, “Building Regulations and Sustainable Design – the relative importance of regulating change versus having an informed citizenry”, For Symposium on the design of Responsible Environments, CPUT, August 2012

Ström, Karin, “The Making of the Kerkgronde of Sutherland”: (deals with the genesis of small stone and mud-brick cottages of Sutherland), in VASSA Journal, No. 25, May 2012, ISSN: 1562-5257.

Ström, Karin, “An overview of Client Responses to growing environmental awareness, 2004-2010, the example of “De Poort, Paarl”, For Symposium on the design of Responsible Environments, CPUT, Sept 2011

Ström, Karin and Dugmore, Stephen and others: “Public response to EIA and HIA for Proposal to demolish and rebuild Kei Mouth Beach Hotel, Kei Mouth”, Submitted to DEAT, Oct 2008.

Ström, Karin and Dugmore, Stephen: For De Poort Cultural Heritage Project, Paarl: “Report for Drakenstein Municipality on TCN Master plan for Southern Paarl”, July 2008.

Ström, Karin and Cooke, Julian, “Sutherland, Northern Cape: Conservation Study and Conservation Guidelines”, published by Karoohoogland Municipality, Dec 2004

Ström, Karin, “Muizenberg Beach Precinct, Section 108 (Heritage) conditions for approval”, for C T Municipality (S. Pen) inter-departmental review panel, Nov 2004, (rev. May 2005)

Ström, Karin, “Procedure for processing Dormell Properties Submission of a Heritage Impact Assessment for the Muizenberg Beach Precinct”, for C T Municipality (S. Pen) inter-departmental review panel, May 2004

Ström, Karin and de Villiers, Jake, “Syfret’s Street Block, Central Cape Town – Section 38 Heritage Impact Assessment”, for Eurocape Investments Ltd, submitted to HWC, CoCT, March 2004

Ström, Karin, “The Housing Issue in Nineteenth Century Cape Town”,

For The National Monuments Council Lecture Series, Cape Town, July 1998

Ström, Karin, “The evolution of built environment legislation in nineteenth century Cape Town, and its impact on the development of working class housing forms in District Six”. For *RESUNACT

(* Historical Archaeology, UCT) Workshop, Cape Town, May 1996


HERITAGE AND DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH PROJECTS          as team member, [1992-1995]

Mission Settlements in South Africa: Prospects for Conservation and Development, (1992 -1995)

(A School of Architecture, University of Cape Town, Research Project, run by D. Japha, V. Japha, L. le Grange and F. Todeschini, Part 1 published by Dept. of Environment Affairs and Tourism, 1993)

This project examined ways of rehabilitating disused social facilities and run down housing, acknowledging that while there is a built environmental heritage of great significance within the towns; restoration agendas needed to be balanced with economic growth.

Karin Ström’s roles:

– Archival research, fieldwork, data analysis and writing up of report material;

– For section of report on citizen participation: interviews, research & text preparation. Work included a survey of international and local examples, and an assessment of techniques suitable for use in the specific context of South African mission towns;

– Assisted with the editing, compilation and illustrating of the final report.

Conservation & Development Studies for many small towns, and Cape Town suburbia, (1992-1994)

(Franschhoek, Franschhoek Valley, McGregor, Prince Albert, Vermaaklikheid, Simonstown; & “Claremont-Newlands-Wynberg-Kenilworth”) – Commissions undertaken by Todeschini and Japha      

Karin Ström’s roles:

– Preliminary historical research used to establish “date screens” into which the buildings were categorised. Done using historic maps, photographs and written records;

– Fieldwork, including serious attention to the greater environments in which buildings were situated. In the suburban study, approximately 7000 buildings were scrutinised in three separate rounds of fieldwork;

– Assistance with drafting final reports: frequently took responsibility for the “Settlement and Architectural History’ portion of reports;

– As project team member, attended meetings with local community members and solicited residents’ views on the declaration of conservation areas;

– Interviewed officials about their knowledge of conservation laws;

– Was responsible for drawing map series for every project; these showed conservation areas, conservation worthy buildings and other important landmarks/ issues. Developed graphic techniques for illustrating this complex information in map form.

Team work, urban research, (1992-1994)

– For a paper examining local practice of heritage conservation from a critical viewpoint. For “The Two faces of Urban Conservation in South Africa”, (prepared by D. and V. Japha for the 3rd IASTE Conference, Paris, July 1992). Karin Ström researched the development of racially segregated housing policy in Graaff Reinet during the 19th and 20th centuries, and helped research the development of inner city Cape Town’s working class housing. This archival research tested the he version of the past presented in the documents supporting conservation policies for these areas – establishing that both in the Cape countryside, and in the City, Heritage areas had more racially mixed provenance than had sometimes previously been asserted.

– For a paper prepared by the Japhas (4th IASTE Conference, Tunis, Dec 1994), “The effect of traditional dwellings research on the development of housing in South Africa”, Karin assisted with fieldwork in Langa, Nyanga, Crossroads and Khayalitsha, and with the analysis of settlement patterns using aerial photographs and maps.


Karin Ström & Stephen Dugmore: Curve, Housing project (2015-16) – uses curved form walling reminiscent of traditional rural dwellings into a city housing project

Karin Ström & Stephen Dugmore: Avenue House, Copeland Road, Rondebosch, Adds and alts to “Gr 3a” house, original architect A.W. Ackerman – A large 1882 Gothic Villa, with alterations appropriately contrasting and setting off heritage components (2015-16).

Karin Ström & Stephen Dugmore: Elwyngor, Silwood Rd, Rondebosch, Adds and alts to “Gr 3a” house, original architects Black & Fagg – A large 1890 – 1920’s “stately home” in Cape Revival Style, with alterations appropriately contrasting and setting off heritage components (2012-13)

Karin Ström & Stephen Dugmore: 4 Buxton Rd, Oranjezicht, Adds and alts to “Gr 3b” Art’s and Craft’s house, architect not known, (2009-2010, and 2013).

Karin Ström & Stephen Dugmore: De Poort Industrial Heritage Project, Paarl: Masterplan, Visitor Centre and Workshops, (2005 – present)

-masterplan for a 2.5 hectare site belonging to the local municipality;

-development of brief with local civic group to develop the site as a focus for community events, a tourist venue, and a heritage centre which celebrates industries that supported transport – starting from the technology of the Khoi/san, and cart & wagon manufacturing in Paarl (there were in the hey-day of animal drawn transport 40 cart factories in Paarl);

– exploration of ways of representing a heritage that has both tangible and intangible aspects.


Karin Ström & Stephen Dugmore: La Gratitude , Hermanus: alterations-refurbishment of “Gr 3a” house, orig. by Baker-Masey practice (2004/5)

Altered this 1913 house to function as a tourist guest house

Karin Ström & Stephen Dugmore: Micklefield School Hall and Multifunction Building, Rondebosch, Gr 3a, (2000 –limited competition): The interface between building edge and courtyards for children’s play was a prime determinant of this building on an extremely tight sight, which also had to find a form which suited a fine heritage setting.

&…Alterations to buildings of varied Heritage status and size (sample of projects): [1999 – 2014]:

Together with Stephen Dugmore, Karin has done “heritage interventions” to many heritage sites: including, for example, Erf 867 Albany Rd, Seapoint; “Lekkerwijn” Homestead ( – c.1750, with famous Herbert Baker additions), Groot Drakenstein; 21 Balfour St, Woodstock; 19 Balfour Street, Woodstock; 31 Bonair Rd, Rondebosch; Springfield Convent School; 31 Holland Road, Muizenberg; 5 Arthur Street, Muizenberg; 20 Robins Road, Observatory; 3 London Road, Observatory. Longer list available on enquiry.


UWRA (Upper Woodstock Ratepayer’s Association) Aesthetics Committee Member, 2003 -2007: design architect dealing with Woodstock Heritage for City of CT submissions; Main correspondent for Aesthetics/Heritage sub-committee for 2004-2006.

VASSA (Vernacular Architecture Society of South Africa)

Chairperson since April 2015, “Talks and Outings” sub-committee, 2013-14, member 2010-2015.

Through VASSA have greatly enhanced knowledge of 18th and early 19th century Cape heritage in the area of vernacular architecture, and had great exposure to experts providing their contrasting views on this special area of work. 

APHP (Association of Professional Heritage Practitioners)

Ordinary member end 2011 – present; Member of Executive Committee, 2013-14.

Took leading role in developing a Mentorship programme for APHP.