Karuni Naidoo, Principal Architect



5 June 1962 



Owner / Principal Architect 


Gandhi Desai High (Durban), 1979

Bachelor of Architecture: UKZN, 1988         (6 year degree / NQF level 8)                        Design Thesis : “A Women’s Centre for Durban”

UKZN 1995: Modules completed for MSC URP Housing : Housing Theory & Practice / Advanced Housing Policy & Finance / Layout & Subdivision 

University of Pretoria 2015 : Centre for Human Rights Course : Challenging Gender Inequality : Rights, Roles & Responsibilities  


SA Council for the Architectural Profession Pr. Reg. No. 5287 : Professional Architect


30 years


South African Insitute of Architects          (SAIA KZN) 

SA Black Tech & Allied Careers Organisation (SABTACO)

Women in Architecture (WiASA KZN) 

Women's Property Network (WPN)

Institute of Directors in South Africa (IoDSA)

EXPERIENCE & SKILLS                    Karuni’s 30 years of experience in architecture includes : 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 for town centres 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.

Lectured at the Department of Architecture, ML Sultan Technikon (now DUT) between 1996 - 2001. Was founding member of CNN Architects in 1995, and continues to manage and lead the practice.

BACKGROUND IN ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT                                    Karuni has since 1980 been involved in a broad range of work at a community level in Greenwood Park. She was active in civic organisations affiliated with the United Democratic Front and aligned with the Congress Movement within Redhill and the Durban area. This included civics, youth, political, welfare, residents, women, workers, amongst others. She has also been involved in early community struggles around housing and rental boycotts in many Durban townships, and later developmental work as a professional architect. It has been this work within various organisations and communities that influences her architectural work, with specific reference to working on projects within disadvantaged areas, those which involve the upliftment of communities, and projects that involve the empowerment of women.

MENTORSHIP                                      Karuni has mentored 52 architectural students from UKZN & DUT and SACAP candidates within CNN Architects since 1995.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILTY                    Karuni has over the past 36 years provided voluntary services to a range of causes, organisations and institutions.







Greenwood Park Ratepayers Association: Executive Committee

Redhill Youth Movement (RHYTHM): Founding Member / Executive Committee

Built Environment Action Movement (BEAM): Executive Committee / Secretary

SABTACO: KZN Executive Committee /  KZN Secretary / National Executive Committee

eThekwini Metro Tender Board: Member / Representative of Durban Black Business Alliance (BMF & CBF)

KwaZulu Natal Society for the Arts (KZNSA): Council Member

Member of the Jury for the 1998 KZNIA Awards of Merit

Featured in 2008 CIDB: Concrete Women

Featured in 2010 Khuthaza: Women on Site

Member of the Jury for the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards 2015 & 2016

Current Chairperson of DUT Architecture Advisory Board

Served on the SACAP Validation Committee in 2015 at UKZN

Finalist in the 2015 Mbokodo Awards for “Women in the Arts: Architecture Category”

Featured in 2016 Ceramics SA Magazine

Founder of the Women in Architecture SA (WiASA) initiative at SACAP

Article in 2016 Afritexture : Challenges Facing Women in Architecture"

Guest Editor of the KZNIA 2016 journal on “Women in Architecture”

Presentation at DUT Urban Futures: “Women in Architecture” 2016

Presentation at WITS: “Women in Architect" 2016

Current member of the Editorial Board of the SAIA KZN Journal

Recipient of Ceramics SA KZN Regional Awards:                                                    2014 Premier Award: Expressive Category

2015 Best Decorated Piece

2016 Hanging Planter Award

Winner of the 2017 “Women in Construction Awards: Architecture Category”

Current Chairperson of Transformation Committee of South African Institute of Architects (SAIA)

Current organiser of the Women in Architecture KZN Programmes: 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019

Winner of KZN 2018 SA Women In Property Award: “Businesswoman of the Year – Entrepreneur”

Current 5th Term Council Member of the SA Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP)

Current Chairperson of the Transformation Committee of SA Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP)

Current Representative of SACAP at the Council for the Built Environment (CBE)

Current Member of Board of the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA)

Member of the Jury for the KZN 2019        SA Women In Property Awards

Facilitator for the 2019 Council for the Built Environment Transformation Indaba (CBE)

Profiled in Mail & Guardian 2019 - “Women Changing South Africa: Art, Film & Media”

“Women to Watch” International Panel “Acknowledging and Addressing Gender (in)equality in Fast Changing African Cities” Dar es Salaam CityLAB 2019

Public Lecture at Ardhi University “Practice, Collaborations and Intersections in African Architecture”                                              Dar es Salaam CityLAB 2019