Welcome to Sophia Gray

The School of Architecture at the University of the Free State started the annual Sophia Gray Lectures and Exhibitions in 1989. It was initiated and conceptualized by Prof. Paul Kotze.

The aims of this series are to highlight the contribution that South African architects and architecture make to society and were, initially at least, intended to create positive role models for the student body of the School of Architecture.


It was named after the first professionally active architect in Bloemfontein, namely Sophia Gray. It is generally agreed that she was responsible for the design of the initial chapel that eventually evolved into the Anglican Cathedral of St Andrew and St Michael in St George’s Street in the city.


Although not formally trained as an architect, Sophia Gray is considered to be South Africa’s first female architect. She was the wife of the first Anglican Bishop of Cape Town, Robert Gray. They arrived in South Africa in 1848. Sophia Gray designed and built approximately 58 churches during the 25 years in which they established the Anglican Church in the country.