“Few architects in Cape Town command as much respect, and amongst some of his competitors, unease, as Louis Karol. Along with his commercial acumen and force of personality, he has had the wisdom to cultivate a stable of formidable designers, who are supported by an extremely efficient office. His projects are usually large, commercially successful and visually strong: sometimes stunning.”- Rory Birkby, 1998

He arrived in South Africa as an 8-year-old immigrant in 1936. He established his practice immediately upon graduating with distinction from the University of Cape Town in 1952. Louis joined the Institute of South African Architects in the same year and has gone on to become a defining figure in the South African architectural profession.

Louis Karol is the founder of Architecture SA and has served as chairman of its editorial board. His practice has been the recipient of no less than seven Institute awards, as well as the international FIABC Prix d’ Excellence of Victoria Wharf at the V&A Waterfront, built on the same spot where he first arrived in South Africa.

He has worked with a passion for quality, and for delivering long-term commercial sustainability and architectural craftsmanship within a genre typified by disposability. Louis is equally passionate about the architectural education and development of his staff, with an in-house training and bursary programme for underprivileged students that has been in existence since 1981.

Although his firm’s commissions have spanned several cities and countries, its most substantial body of work has been in Cape Town, where Louis Karol buildings have helped to shape the developing city ‘s skyline and streets. Louis’ practice has been fiercely committed to the Cape Town city centre, where there remains barely a block that has not been touched by the practice in some way. Louis Karol’s oeuvre such as the Golden Acre (1976) and Victoria Wharf (1992 ongoing) have sought to re-integrate a city torn apart by apartheid and transport planning.

Louis Karol’s practice has been a consistent force for Cape Town’s inner city reinvestment and urban regeneration. Cape Town’s resurgent city centre and V & A Waterfront are what they are today, due in no small measure to Karol’s benevolent influence.

Born 10 July 1928
Education 1952: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape
Projects featured V & A Victoria Wharf, Cape Town, Western Cape (1992); Cape Sun Hotel, Cape Town, Western Cape (1984)

SG 14


Cape Town, Western Cape | 1992

Cape Sun Hotel

Cape Town, Western Cape | 1984