Local Studio is a Johannesburg-based architecture and urban design firm specialising in catalytic projects in complex urban environments


When we started the company in 2011 we were a multidisciplinary design studio with the mission of ‘using design to create social and economic development for people of all classes.’

Our first 3 years were a whirlwind: we made the conscious decision to say ‘yes’ to any potential project: be it a corporate identity for a prefab school company or a plan for a 500 hectare new town. We were able to test our mission in a variety of contexts and in 2014 made the conscious decision to focus solely on architecture and urban design projects with a strong public focus.

In 2016 we began work on our 100th project: the refurbishment of a Johannesburg apartment block which converted former apartheid-era rooftop servant rooms into affordable micro-penthouses. We could not have asked for a more symbolic project to illustrate our revised mission statement for the company:



Our mission is to become a leading proponent of sustainable urban transformation in Africa. Our continued aim is to develop unique approaches to architectural practice that forge synergies between private business, communities and the state. In doing so, our goal is to design and develop projects that engender lasting spatial justice in African Cities. 


Management and Operational Profile

Local Studio is a private company ((Pty) Ltd. registration number 2012/067189/07), owned and managed by its founder, Thomas Chapman. Local Studio is an Exempt Micro enterprise (EME) and Level 4 BEE company.