Sarah Calburn Architects specialize in tailor-made projects, design integrity and quality, and in the ‘art’ of architecture. Design thinking is located in the inventive and lateral space between landscape and architecture. In the gorgeous South African climate, our buildings are intimately involved with light effects, the heady experience of space and place, and the fluidity of the perceptual boundary between interior and exterior. Interiors are conceived as landscapes, experiential and scenographic.

Beauty and economy are not concepts in opposition

We are critical of all architectures that have fallen prey to various insane and crude (im)portations of cultural make-believe.

Sarah Calburn is also a founding partner of SPACE MATTERS architecture & urbanism. With Dustin A. Tusnovics, SPACE MATTERS is focused on community projects at all scales..

Our Team

Sarah Calburn

Sarah Calburn founded her Johannesburg practice in 1996 after completing a Masters in Architecture by Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She graduated from Wits with distinction in 1987 and has worked in Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. She locates her ethos in the conceptual space between landscape and architecture, and her multi award-winning firm is committed to a mode of architectural practice which is able to sustain both a creative and a critical dialogue with its social and physical environments. The practice has enormous experience in the residential market and has been recognised internationally for the quality of its work.
Sarah has sat on the committee of the Gauteng Institute for Architecture. She was Program Director of the first Architectural Biennale  held in Joburg, Sept 2010: Architecture AZA 2010, which saw wide ranges of inter-disciplinary local and international practitioners put into the critical conversation around the urban futures of Joburg. In 2009, she initiated a series of CPD accredited Design Masterclasses called ‘Rapid Thought Transport: Architects re-imagine Joburg’. She is passionate about the re-empowerment of architecture in what she perceives as the rapidly privatising, developer-led urban environments of South Africa.
She has taught design at various local and international universities, lectures at various architectural events, writes on architecture and urbanism, and has been part of numerous university examination and other competition judging panels. Her work and writing have been published in both local and international magazines, newspapers and books, including the Landscape 1000, Phaidon Atlas of World Architecture and Wallpaper magazine.
Sarah has another practice called SPACE MATTERS – architecture and urbanism, in partnership with the Austrian architect Dustin Tusnovics.SPACE MATTERS is concerned with all scales of community-driven projects and is committed to the formation of humane, balanced and optimistic environments in South Africa. Strategies for sustainability are pursued both via the deployment of community-driven processes, as well as via the investigation of alternative building materials and design possibilities.

Kobus Fuhri

Kobus runs the Western Cape wing of the office from his base in Muizenberg. He has worked for Sarah since 1999, having qualified in Tshwane. He has been consistently responsible for turning Sarah’s perspectives into working drawings, in the process often challenging architectural norms and developing unexpected solutions.

Petri Venter – Architectural Technologist

Petri has just joined the practice as a 4th-year student from UCT. Each year, the practice takes on a student, in the process imparting a wide range of knowledge ranging from design presentation to the preparation of working drawings and site assistance.

Blue Belington


Blue is an Architectural Technologist that has joined us for a year before returning to university to complete his qualification.
He is here to gain experience and knowledge from the ethos and professionalism that our office promotes. He is an enthusiastic person with a wide range of interests and a keen attitude towards learning.