Jaun van Wyk: Bringing the art back into architecture

Cape Town based architect Jaun van Wyk plans to restore architecture to an art form.


Jaun van Wyk, a young architect based in Cape Town, transcends the normal duties of an architect by exploring and evolving insight into art, architecture and creativity.

According to his website: "van Wyk aims not to alter architecture as such, but to reinstate his role as the creative individual by undermining and exploding tedious positions and notions in the creative field of architecture."

For van Wyk, the field of architecture is a rigorous process filled with old school methodology. He says, "Architecture today merely mimics the formulas of textbook design." He believes this archaic attitude towards the construction of buildings and spaces that fill our daily movements inhibits the progression of architecture.

Van Wyk's attitude towards architecture as an art form relies heavily on the perspective that "architecture must acknowledge notions of history and theory, criticism of architecture and urbanism." Van Wyk wants to restore the architect as an artist and save the field from crystalizing into a the "monotonous standardised industry it is transforming into,” reads his website.

Establishing himself a distinguished and authoritative voice on creativity, even at such a young age, comes with hard work and dedication. Van Wyk has produced valued work in photography, visual art and design. 


Van Wyk has worked with practices across the globe including, Studio Odile Decq, Gallery Polaris in France and the Institute for Architecture in Southern California, which helped shaped his global view on architecture. Van Wyk was also instrumental in the development and transformation of the now very popular Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg.

Van Wyk has held numerous exhibitions to showcase his art and design, reaching beyond architecture to exhibit work ranging from photography to industrial design and light installations. These include a unique spatial experience installation at the Southern Californian Institute of Architecture, a conceptual photographic exhibition called ‘The aesthetics of violence" which expressed the violent realities faced in South Africa.

His industrial and lighting designs include the Javelot series, which is a two-part light design concept. Firstly, as the light source for interior use and secondly, as landscape light for exterior use. It was designed for MACRO (Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art) and created by  Studio ODBC in Paris.

His research and viewpoints go beyond the visual aesthetic. Van Wyk has established himself as a creative writer within the field of architecture. He has published various pieces on architecture including a collaborative piece with Russian architect, Inara Nevskaya titled, Reconfiguring and reconstructing lost urban spaces by means of extrapolation. It was published in the esteemed architectural magazine Volume.