An interview with architect Francois Theron, on the essence of architecture.

Francois Theron


"I'm an architect. I grew up with a mother as an art teacher, and a father as an accountant.  I love beauty, and I'm passionate about buildings that celebrate life, people, and nature.

To me the essence of architecture is all about relationships. The relationship between the building and the earth that it stands on, and the relationship between the people and the space. I start off with the dynamics of what the site tells me: the soil, sun, trees, and the elements, and what we want the building to do. The excitement of a good building, to me, comes from how well you integrate those factors.

I don't start off with a fixed view of where I'm going. I play, and as I play I discover, and I find that incredibly exciting. I will redraw a building five or six times, and in the process I keep honing. It’s like working in a space of relative frustration, and all of a sudden it clicks. It doesn’t necessarily come from me, but through me, and that's very satisfying.  It's a bit like happiness– you can’t find it by looking for it, it’s a byproduct of doing things right. I get a kick out of making things better for people, of making buildings that become an enriching part of people's lives, that helps them to celebrate life more."

fdt architects has operated out of the small Eastern Cape coastal village of Kenton-on-Sea for the past 31 years. In that time we have successfully completed over 1000 projects, with the range of buildings designed as diverse as schools, hospitals, holiday homes, and five-star game lodges.

Having been awarded commissions in the Seychelles, the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom, as well as across the African continent in countries such as: Morocco; Zambia; Namibia; Botswana; Mozambique; Zimbabwe; Tanzania; and extensively in South Africa, fdt architects' projects are as diverse as their locations.

As a practice of such long-standing, we take the responsibility of realising our client’s dreams seriously. We enjoy working as a creative team together with our client, other agents, professionals, and building contractors to develop a concept into tangible reality that provides pleasure, exciting aesthetics, practicality, and optimum functionality.