Nabeel Essa

Nabeel is a registered architect with the South African Council of Architects no: 6799. He acts as an architectural consultant specialising in designing and developing museum, exhibition and cultural information projects. He is principal to the architectural practice office 24-7.

Nabeel’s skills lie in combining spatial understanding with new ways of reinterpreting museums. Such conceptual ideas act as driving forces that continue to inform the design at its most detailed level. His thesis at the University of the Witwatersrand looked at critically engaging marginal histories; this spurred an interest in issues of identity and difference and their construction in post apartheid South Africa. He has a Masters degree in landscape urbanism from the Architectural Association in London.

The Masters involved the understanding of growth, evolution, change and scale in informing urban development and regeneration. The role of diagramming as a way of informing design allowed for new possibilities. At Constitution Hill the scope of work included feasibility studies, interpretive experience, heritage policy, business planning, programming, exhibition strategy and supervision of the restoration. Traditional notions of museum were questioned as the fragmentation between heritage and new developments led to a decentralised interpretive experience across the Hill. The Kliptown Heritage Framework project began with developing strategies to integrate a community with its heritage, new developments and housing, and its potential as a visitor destination and as a living museum. Other projects have included new office buildings for the Department of Environmental Affairs in Polokwane, new houses, house additions and the renovation of heritage houses, and the recently concluded renovations and restorations of the Governor’s House and the Hillbrow Recreation Centre for the Johannesburg Development Agency. 
 At office 24-7 the architectural ethos we strive for is one of sensitivity and the understanding of context, light, lifestyle, and the need for art; an architecture with a richness of imagination, texture, layering, materiality, place making and the fluidity of space. Tailor-made designs and customized detailing allow for unique and innovative projects.

Environmental Affairs office building, Polokwane for Limpopo Public Works, 2005-2006

Constitution Hill signage, 2007-2009  


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