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Contact Details

Call Patrick McInerney or Chris Malan

132 Jan Smuts Ave


P O Box 52604  Saxonwold

2196  South Africa

[T] +27 (0)11 447 1344


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Meyer Pienaar Legacy

A dynamic new generation is taking the internationally acclaimed achievements of former Meyer Pienaar Architects and Urban Designers to new heights. The newly branded name is Co-Arc International Architects, a company with a deep sense of social and cultural responsibility.

Meyer Pienaar has been one of South Africa’s foremost architectural and urban design firms for over forty years,” says director Chris Malan. “As Co-Arc International, we are repositioning ourselves with a stronger focus on relevant architecture for the changing needs of South Africa.” The spotlight is concentrated intensely on sustainability in architecture. “This is an environmentally-sensitive approach, conscious of the need to preserve resources and be energy-efficient. Architecture should serve the wellbeing of society, and meet the needs of people, creating an urban environment which reflects human dimensions.”

The Mpumalanga Provincial Government complex illustrates this approach: the project, governed by an environmental management plan on site, blends into the natural landscape, incorporates renewable resources and passive solar control, and integrates local arts and crafts in the architecture. More recently Co-Arc pushed the boundaries even further with an office block proposal for Sasol Technology, offering a zerocarbon energy solution through a combination of advanced passive thermal design and renewable energy sources.

A star-studded list of local and international design and architectural awards has continued unbroken since 1966. Clients range from massive multinationals to local authorities, from small businesses to huge hotel and commercial complexes. “All projects fulfil our philosophy of adding value to developments through the creation of quality architecture and urban design with an extremely high standard of professional service.”

Meyer Pienaar has for more than forty years been known as one of South Africa's leading architectural firms. The practice was launched 40 years ago by Willie Meyer and François Pienaar with the commission for the Rand Afrikaans University (now The University of Johannesburg), a campus development which at the time was the largest construction project in the southern hemisphere. Since this landmark design, one of the seminal projects of the international integrated campus movement of the 1960's, Meyer Pienaar has been consistently among global leaders in the field of architecture.

Meyer Pienaar's submission for a competition for the new government buildings of Mpumalanga , (executed in collaboration with Aziz Tayob Partnership Architects, the first black architectural practice to have been established in South Africa, and local architect Hermann Schnepel), resulted in a unanimous first prize win.

Meyer Pienaar has extensive experience in all spheres of architecture, and in urban design, from detail design of public spaces to large-scale strategic urban planning.

The practice has built its strength on managerial, technical and design innovation, coupled with a capacity for dynamic change and a thorough understanding of market forces. Motivated by a deep sense of social and cultural responsibility, the Partnership subscribes to highest standards of design and professionalism and to enlightened environmental and human relations policies.

Meyer Pienaar is constantly staying abreast of latest technological advancements in the field of computerised production and in ensuring that service delivery meets the ever more demanding benchmarks for swiftness of production, quality control and efficient contract management.

Much of the success and persistently innovative and fresh creativity emerging from the Meyer Pienaar studio is a strong focus on a collaborative culture which dates from the early years of the firm's establishment, in which the focus is on teamwork and creativity among all team members. Projects are completed by dedicated, coherent teams, led by the project architect. A vibrant studio atmosphere and good interaction among all members of staff ensures that the skills and creativity of all studio members is shared in pursuit of a unique design solution for each new commission. Ongoing study and rigorous in-house training form an integral part of the office culture, and ensure continuity of a tradition of excellence.

The practice looks on its human resources as its strongest assets, and nurtures young staff in the tradition set by founding partners Willie Meyer and François Pienaar , both of whom graduated from the renowned Louis Kahn masterclass at the University of Pennsylvania.

The spirit of Louis Kahn influences much of Meyer Pienaar's work to this day. Kahn's focus as one of the worlds most influential architectural teachers has always been on the inherent integrity and logic of a given architectural solution, rather than on style. This foundation underpins a large body of work which has earned Meyer Pienaar international recognition, in the form of numerous awards, competition wins and published features in books and magazines across the globe.

Many of Meyer Pienaar's buildings enjoy landmark status. The firm’s buildings have been incorporated in Sir Bannister Fletcher’s authoritative “A History of Architecture”, and in the UIA’s 10 volume publication to mark the turn of the century, featuring seminal architecture of the 20th century.

To this day the firm persists in producing an unbroken stream of competition-winning and premiated designs which draw attention well beyond the borders of South Africa.