South-African born Sumayya Vally’s design, research, and pedagogical practice, Counterspace, is centred on finding form and expression for hybrid identities and contested territories. Sumayya’s work is often forensic and draws on the aural, the performative, the supernatural, the wayward and the overlooked as generative places of history and work.
A TIME100 Next List honouree and designer of the 20th Serpentine Pavilion (2020/2021), Sumayya Vally, at 30 years old, is the youngest architect to be commissioned for the internationally renowned architectural programme.
The Serpentine Galleries’ Summer Pavilions have run since 2000. The first one was designed by Zaha Hadid and in the following years have seen Pavilions designed by architects such as Sminjan Radic, Ai Wei-Wei, Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry and others.
Dr Mohamed Keshavjee interviewed Sumayya Vally for The Muslim News
MK: You are in a field which traditionally does not have many women How did you manage to get into this discipline, and what were some of the challenges you faced to make architecture a career in life?
SV: I don’t quite know when I decided to become an architect. I think I wanted to be many different things. I remember wanting to be a journalist as well. I also wanted to be an archaeologist. In addition, I was interested in history and in writing. And sometimes when I think about the way that I practise architecture, I think that many of these different interests have found their way into the manner in which I practise.
In my final year of architecture school, my friends and I spent lots of time in the city, being in Johannesburg, working to read and translate and explore it. Counterspace was born out of a desire to create a different canon and to be able to find what we were missing in our architectural education.
Full interview at The Muslim News