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“I use architecture to reveal stories that may not be visible at first,” says Sumayya Vally. She is Zooming with me from the London office of her research-based multidisciplinary practice, Counterspace (the firm also has a location in Johannesburg). The stories she is interested in — the lives of migrants throughout history, how community networks operate and the geological makeup of their lands — are close to her heart and her work. Counterspace’s first project, exhibited at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015, was an analysis of Johannesburg’s abandoned mine; an extension of her thesis, it explored the highly polluted landscape as a visceral reminder of how waste, toxicity and radiation have become a quiet, sinister...

Sumayya Vally: An Architecture that Charts the Migrant Experience

In conversation with the architect, based in Johannesburg and London, who is bridging past and present in her growing oeuvre.

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