Karuni Naidoo, Principal Architect




Gandhi Desai High (Durban), 1979

Bachelor of Architecture: UKZN, 1988
“A Women’s Centre for Durban”


SA Council for the Architectural Profession Pr. Reg. No. 5287


27 years


South African Insitute of Architects

KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Archtecture

SA Black Tech & Allied Careers Org

DCCI - Women in Business Forum

Business Women’s Association of SA

KZN Society for the Arts

Ceramics SA KwaZulu Natal

Chair DUT Architecture Advisory Board

SACAP Validation Panel Member

Chair SACAP Women in Architecture SA


ARCHITECTURAL EXPERIENCE       Karuni’s architectural experience includes amongst others: residential; hospitals; houses; schools; tourism; commercial; tertiary institutions; police stations; offices; environmental; industrial; clinics; crèches; pre-schools; community facilities; sporting facilities; institutional projects; hostel upgrades; social housing; gender; urban design frameworks in townships; and urban design studies.

Her work experience between 1980 and 1995 includes: Vito Coppola Architects; The Urban Foundation; MA Gafoor Architects; Built Environment Support Group (BESG); Kiran Lalloo Architects; VARA Architects; and Sharat Das (New Delhi, India).

She practiced as Karuni Naidoo Architects between 1991 and 1994.

She was founding member of CNN Architects in 1995, and continues to manage and lead the practice.

ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE                   Karuni has been Lecturer within the Department of Architecture, DUT (ML Sultan) between 1996 and 2001. She has taught at all levels from 1st Year to B.Tech, and has experience in teaching in Architectural Design, Presentation, Construction, History of Architecture, Urban Design and Housing. She has also been involved in developing specific coursework material, as well as ongoing curriculum development. Her teaching kept up with trends in architecture, urban design and housing and she encouraged critical thinking around the creation of sustainable urban environments.

Karuni continues to provide ongoing support to architectural education at both DUT and UKZN. She is an ongoing 3rd Year External Examiner at DUT, as well as External Thesis Examiner and External Mock Jury Critic at UKZN. She is current Chairperson of the DUT Architecture Advisory Board. She was a member of the Jury for the 1998 KZNIA Awards of Merit and the 2015 Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award. She continues to provide training and mentorship to black women students studying architecture at DUT and UKZN.


DEVELOPMENTAL WORK                    Karuni has during the 1980’s been involved in work at a community level in Greenwood Park. She was active, from an early age, in campaigns of DHAC, UDF, NIC, NOW and the ANC underground, and was one of the founding members of the Redhill Youth Movement (RHYTHM). She has worked with civics, youth, political, welfare, residents, women, workers, amongst others. She was involved in early community struggles around rental boycotts and housing in many Durban townships. Karuni continues to provide voluntary services to many organisations, institutions and causes.

As an Architect during the 1990’s she continued this work within the Built Environment Action Movement (BEAM) as EXCO member and Secretary, and within SABTACO as KZN EXCO member and Secretary and National EXCO. She represented the Durban Black Business Alliance (CBF &BMF) on the Durban Metro Tender Board. During her early years of architectural practice she developed an interest in issues around gender in the construction industry through her membership of SA Women in Construction and Khuthaza Women for Housing.

Karuni’s organisational background influences her architectural work, with specific reference to working on projects within disadvantaged areas, those that involve the upliftment of communities, as well as projects that involve the empowerment of women. She is currently leading the SACAP Women in Architecture Programme (WiASA) which aims to transform women within the architectural profession.

Karuni was a Nominee in the 2015 Mbokodo Awards for Women in the Arts : Architecture Category.

Her work in ceramics has been exhibited and published, has received recognition at the Ceramics SA KZN regional exhibitions: 2014 Premier Award : Expressive Category 2015 Best Decorated Piece