We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 1st prize winners of our “San Francisco Affordable Housing Challenge” competition - Martin Pretorius and Raphael Trischler from South Africa!

Martin Pretorius and Raphael Trischler from South Africa


I am a South African architect, living in Cape Town, South Africa. I graduated with a master’s degree in Architecture from the University of the Free State (South Africa) in 2013 and worked as a candidate architect in Johannesburg, South Africa until late 2015. After my candidacy I pursued a master’s degree in Business Administration from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. I completed my degree and relocated to Cape Town where I worked as an architect for an international firm (SSH) on large scale projects in Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

Twelve months into my employment I received an offer to be the lead architects of a local architectural practice, working on small to medium scale projects throughout the African continent. It is within this company where Raphael and I met and started our creative collaboration. I remained with the practice until June 2020 and started my own architecture and design firm, WORKSHOP AND MACHINE. The San Francisco Affordable Housing Challenge was the first competition I undertook under my new company name and I was pleased to continue my collaboration with Raphael on the project. Since the start of my own venture, I have been commissioned for housing developments in Central South Africa coupled with furniture lines for private clients.


I am a Swiss/South African 3D architectural visualizer, living in Cape Town, South Africa. I have been working in the 3D industry for seven years. After graduating in 2011 as a top student with Cum Laude in 3D Design and Animation (degree in Arts and Design Faculty), I decided to work and live in Zurich, Switzerland, and Berlin, Germany, to gain work experience and broaden my mind by travelling and learning about different cultures. In Berlin I worked for Smeet, an indie game studio. My responsibilities were to design new environments, clothing for characters, creating models’ - that players could interact with and more regarding 3D.

A year later I was back in Cape Town, as I was offered a position in the 3D Dental industry, at ConeScan, an American based company. By using Cone beam high resolution CT scanners, volumetric images from America were sent to me, to create 3D views of critical anatomy for a more thorough analysis of bone structure and teeth orientation.  After working for more than 3 years at Conescan, my passion for 3D visualization kicked in. After completing some freelance jobs, I had a decent enough portfolio which landed me a visualisation position in an architectural firm where I met Martin. Working closely with clients and architects, I was part of a team which designed concepts and buildings.

Being a highly active person, I had the urge to find new experiences and to grow my knowledge in 3D architectural visualization. I started working for Xpose Studios late 2019, a visualization company specializing in photo-realistic architectural imagery.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where company/ individuals have been involved?

During our time together, Raphael and I worked on quite a variety of interesting projects, ranging from hikers' accommodation at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, an office block in Kenya, studio apartments in Morocco and various projects around Cape Town, South Africa. Most of our projects were small in scale but highly detailed which we preferred at the time. My (Martin) current project scales range from small furniture pieces to large scale architectural developments, whereas Raphael is mainly involved in the visualization of large-scale developments. Within the projects we collaborate on, no project is too big or too small.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Architecture is the process of creation through problem-solving. We believe the role of an architect in the 21st century will be different from what architects delivered historically. Architects have a variety of skills that can be used outside of the traditional norm of the architectural field, which encourages collaboration between different professions. The role of architects in our society is to go out, explore and find new solutions for ever-growing problems within the contemporary civilization.

Martin Pretorius and Raphael Trischler from South Africa

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

Architectural competitions are a representation of freedom where you get to explore your creative ability. An ability which should be exercised on a regular basis and used in practice. Designers face unique challenges in architectural competitions that might be uncommon in the area they practice, which helps an individual to learn the skill of adapting to change.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

We see architectural competitions as a playground where you get to test your ideas and improve your design, technical and communication skills. These are all skills needed in practice to win clients and grow your business. For us, growth is the main driver for participating.

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