South African architect Jo Noero has been practicing since 1984, making his name internationally during the Apartheid era, when he working for NGOs, Desmond Tutu and the Anglican Church on schools, community centres, churches and homes in the townships, such as Soweto. With the arrival of democracy, the scope of Jo’s work broadened to include offices, public buildings, schools and the homes of some of South Africa’s leading struggle heroes, business leaders and arts personalities.
“Architecture,” Noero has said, “is a social art and as such has a responsibility to not only be useful, but also beautiful. This objective runs through the work that we do at Noero Architects.”
During his career, Jo has completed more than 200 buildings. He is perhaps best known internationally for the Red Location Precinct in New Brighton, a township in Port Elizabeth. The Red Location Gallery was named the Best Building in the World at the 2013 Icon Awards in London. The Red Location Museum won the Lubetkin Prize in 2006 for the Most Outstanding Building Outside the EU, as well as The Dedallo Minosse President’s Award, The RIBA International Award, and a World Leadership Award for Public Architecture.
Jo has also received many of South Africa’s highest architectural honours. In 2010, he was awarded the South African Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal for Architecture. His practice has also won three Awards of Excellence, 15 Awards of Merit and 14 Project Awards from the Institute.
The architecture of Jo Noero has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome, the Museum of Architecture in Munich, and at Biennales in Venice, São Paulo, Singapore, Chicago and Istanbul. He is also one of only three architects who have exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Cape Town. He has also been the Ruth and Norman Professor and Director of Graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis (1995–2000); Professor of Architecture (2000–2015) and Director of the School of Architecture and Planning (2000–2005) at the University of Cape Town, becoming Emeritus Professor in 2015.