In 2020, UrbanWorks was featured in Domus as one of "the world’s 50 most creative, interesting and promising emerging architecture practices.”​

UrbanWorks Architecture and Urbanism is an interdisciplinary design-research studio operating in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Founded in 2008 by architect, urban designer, and researcher Thireshen Govender, UrbanWorks was borne out of a simultaneous frustration and curiosity around contemporary urban space and how it was being navigated in post-apartheid South African cities.

Through immersive, experimental, and interdisciplinary explorations and provocations around space as a political instrument, UrbanWorks engages critically with the cultural and economic infrastructures of South African cities. This is achieved using the four key pillars of urbanism, architecture, research and teaching, and interventions.

Associated Sites:

Research and teaching through the University of Johannesburg Graduate School of Architecture. 

A collaborative research and advocacy initiative studying the emerging spaces of micro-economies. 

A collaborative outlet space for all things urban located in Maboneng.

9 years of research, 10 sites, 2 years of production, ±300 drawings,  and finally its here - Township Economy: People, Spaces and Practices. This book is co-authored with Dr Andrew Charman and Dr Leif Peterson of Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and holds together our deep curiosity into South Africa’s most tumultuous, divisive and hopeful of territories. The book reveals with rigorous scientific methods the extra-ordinary urbanity of high streets, shebeens, survivalist business, micro-investments, land appropriation and how these infrastructures are made by an equally complex social life. Special thank you to all our friends, colleagues and collaborators in making this important piece of work come to life at a most crucial junction in the life of cities.


Township Economy People, Spaces and Practices

Andrew Charman, Leif Petersen and Thireshen Govender

ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2577-0

+27 82 886 2998 | 1st Floor Unit F8 44 Stanley Ave. Braamfontein Werf, Johannesburg info@urbanworks.co.za 

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle