Barbara van Zyl

Barbara joined Jasmax in 2015 and brings a wealth of architectural experience and talent to the practice. She is a highly experienced registered architect, having worked on projects of varying scales and types, both in New Zealand and South Africa. Barbara has a hands-on approach and enjoys performing the full spectrum of roles from project inception through the design stages to implementation and delivery on site.

Barbara studied architecture during the 1970s in South Africa. She graduated as the only girl in a class of 46. During those formative years her passion for architecture was fueled by her desire to address social issues through the built environment. Throughout her career Barbara has sought out projects that have a social purpose - where her input on the project outcomes makes a positive impact on the community it serves.

While running her own practice in South Africa for nine years, Barbara was one of the lead architects for a new multi-purpose centre for the rapidly growing Cato Manor new town, a flagship project funded by the Nelson Mandela Foundation for Reconstruction and Development. Barbara also consulted the Durban City Council on the Warwick Junction Urban Renewal Program. This ground breaking enterprise sought to deliver innovative “African” solutions to the historical problem of exclusion and disenfranchisement of black informal traders from the Durban CBD and periphery.

Barbara has enjoyed design roles as well as leading project teams through the documentation and construction phases of several large projects, including the role of Project Architect for Ngā Wai Hono. She led the diverse 24-strong team with ages ranging from 22 to 90 through the Developed Design and Detailed Design stages to completion.

Barbara leads by example and mentoring often happens “on the job”. She has regularly been sought out by young female graduates to serve as a mentor. They have often commented that they feel empowered seeing her on site – often a lone woman – and holding her own in coordination meetings full of men.

Barbara's design integrity, attention to detail, and her ability to successfully collaborate with contractors, consultants and builders to achieve the clients’ goals makes her a ‘complete architect’.

Key Projects