Dr Magda Minquzzi

Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture

PhD Programme Coordinator


Building 8, South Campus, Summerstrand

Biography / Background

With a Laurea (M.Arch) and Ph.D. in architectural composition obtained from the University Iuav Venice (IT) -with bursary- my principal field of expertise is Architectural and Urban composition. The study of the methods, techniques, procedures through which a project is generated.
I moved in South Africa in 2013, and since then, I cover the position of Senior Lecturer and responsible for the Ph.D. program at the Nelson Mandela University School of Architecture (South Africa). Since 2019 the University of the Free State, Department of Architecture, invited me to be part of the Ph.D. in Design panel of experts to evaluate the Master's and Ph.D. students' work.

After several awards and funds received since my arrival in South Africa from Nelson Mandela University to continue my research project based on pre-colonial sites in Eastern Cape, the NRF - National Research Foundation supports my research for the next three years with "Community Engagement Program" funds. It is essential to mention a research done in co-authorship with the Chiefs of the First Indigenous People representative of the territory of the Eastern Cape (SA).
My work and papers have been published in International and Italian books and journals. My art projects have been shown, as a solo exhibition, nationally and internationally in art galleries and public spaces.


Highest Degree: Postgraduate doctor's degree (PhD)
Year obtained: 2009
Discipline: Architectural Composition (University Iuav, Venice-IT)

Awards and Achievements

  • 2005. Lions Club Venice. Desig competition entitled "House of Music" for the requalification of the area ex-Palafenice on the Tronchetto island of Venice. Project leader Prof. Patrizia Montini Zimolo.
  • Project awarded third prize.
  • 2007 Krakow, Poland. Participate in the competition for the " John Paul II Centre 'do not fear' ". Project leader Prof. Renato Rizzi with Pro.Tec.O.
  • Project awarded honorable mention.  http://europaconcorsi.com/projects/26772-Krakow
  • 2009. Ferrara, Italy, competition "Architecture from Ferrara/for Ferrara", AGAF, 2009. Participate with the project "House in Nile Road, restructuring and extension, Port Elizabeth, South Africa", with Arch. Ernst Struwig.  Project awarded second prize.
  • 2012. Pergine (Trento, Italy). Participate in the competition: "For the requalification of the area near the Caldonazzo lake" with Studio Proteco srl engineering (IT).  Project awarded with honorable mention.

  • 2015. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, "AWARDS FOR STAFF PRODUCING OUTPUTS IN THE PERFORMING AND CREATIVE ARTS, 2014". Received the awards for the art work "Horizons" and "Looking for myself".
  • 2015. Archivio FMF_Fondo Malerba per la fotografia, Milan (Italy). Selected my art work "Looking for myself" to be part of the Archive. https://www.archiviofmf.it/
  • 2018. Nelson Mandela University, received the 18. ENGAGEMENT EXCELLENCE AWARD as team leader for the project "The Spirit of water".
  • 2018. Nelson Mandela University, received the 18. PERFORMING AND CREATIVE ARTS AWARD for the project "The Spirit of water".
  • 2019. NIHSS _ Humanities and Social Sciences Awards 2019. My short film "The Spirit of Water" was shortlisted as one of the 3 best project/film, in South Africa, for the category "Creative Collections: International Art Project and Performance".


  • 2016. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, received the "RESEARCH THEMES GRANT (RTG)", Sustainable human settlements, Architecture and urbanism. Research theme: The origin of things: reflections on the Khoikhoi Peoples. Team leader.
  • 2017. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, received the ENGAGEMENT ADVANCEMENT FUND (EAF) for the project/ international art performance "The Spirit of water" in co authorship with the First Indigenous People of Southern Africa of the Nelson Mandela Bay.
  • 2017. Nelson Mandela University, received the RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT FUND (RDF) for the ongoing research "The origin of things: reflections on the Khoikhoi Peoples". Participatory research project in co authorship with the KhoiSan Chiefs of the area of investigation. Team leader.
  • 2018. Nelson Mandela University, received the ENGAGEMENT ADVANCEMENT FUND (EAF) for the 2nd phase of the international art project "The Spirit of Water".
  • 2018. Nelson Mandela University, received the TEACHING DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION FUND (TDI), for the project of site survey of the fish traps in Easter Cape (SA) to realize with the students of the School of Architecture as experience outside the classroom.
  • 2019-2021. NRF- National Research Foundation "Community Engagement Programme 2018". Principal investigator with the KhoiSan Chiefs of Eastern Cape. Application SUCCESSFUL. The NRF will support with 3 years of funding (tot. R 666 336.00) and 2 bursary for Master's students (full-time).
  • 2017. University of Southampton. Video interview by Sarah Fielding and Sofy Bazzini about my research on fish traps became part of Digital Learning at University of Southampton-MOOC program of the University. http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/oceans/2017/07/05/exploring-oceans-goes-south-africa/

Professional Activities-committees:

  • 2003-the present. Registered as an Architect with the Italian Institute of Architects, OAPPC.Ra (IT).
  • 2016 -the present. Registered as an Architect at S.A.C.A.P. (2016): CANT42957164.
  • 2016 -the present. Member of ECPACC: Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council.
  • 2018-the present. Member of ICOMOS-ICHAM: International Council on Monument and Sites, International Committee on Archeological Heritage Management.
  • 2019-the present. Scientific Committee's member of the architectural journal "Officina". https://www.officina-artec.com/


  • 2014-the present. Role: Chair. Committee: School of Architecture Research and Engagement.
  • 2017-the present. Role: Ocean Sciences Task team member.
  • 2018-2019. Role: Faculty of Arts representative. Committee: Postgraduate Studies Committee, Nelson Mandela University.
  • 2019. Role: School of Architecture representative. Committee: Sub-Ethics committee, Faculty of Arts.
  • 2020-the present.  Member of the advisory Board: Center for Philosophy in Africa, Faculty of Art.
  • 2020-the present.  Role: Chairperson for the School of Architecture Post Graduate Studies. Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Technology.

Research Interests: my research focus is on African vernacular architecture, Indigenous tangible and intangible heritage in South Africa, practices of de-colonizing the territory and cultural-re appropriation.

Representative Publications 

2014. Magda Minguzzi, "Horizons, Up to what point can the eye read the absence of the missing figure?", in ARCHITECTURE SA, n65 January/February 2014. ISBN 9771682938004-14002 Publication of my project titled "Horizons".

2016. Magda Minguzzi, Ernst Struwig, "Workshop for global exchanges" in ARCHITECTURE SA, n79/2016, pp10/12. ISBN 9771682938004-14002

2020. Magda Minguzzi, "KhoiSan heritage sites, South African. A project of cooperation in between the Nelson Mandela University and the indigenous community of the Metropolitan area of Port Elizabeth, OFFICINA n31, Nov 2020, pp 80-83. ISSN 2532-1218, www.officina-artec.com. Anteferma Edizioni S.r.l.                       
ARTICLES in the process of being PUBLISHED IN ACCREDITED JOURNALS (accepted/submitted/still appearing)
2020. Magda Minguzzi, "Practices of Cultural Reappropriation", NEW CONTREE JOURNAL, NWU, currently under peer review process. http://dspace.nwu.ac.za/handle/10394/4969, ISSN:
0379-9867 (print).

2008. Magda Minguzzi, "A water threshold on the lagoon edge" in, Iuav giornale dell'università, (IUAV university newspaper) n° 57, pp 22/23. Publication of my research about Venice.

2012. Magda Minguzzi, "The linear compositions of Gianugo Polesello and the limits of the city", in Festival dell’Architettura Magazine, ISSN 2039-0491.
http://www.festivalarchitettura.it/ Publication of my research about Arch. Gianugo Polesello.
2012. Magda Minguzzi, "The linear compositions of Gianugo Polesello and the limits of the city", in Giornale Iuav n. 114, 2012, ISSN 2038-7814  Publication of my research about Arch. Gianugo Polesello.

2009. Magda Minguzzi., "Sul progetto per l'area comprendente il centro storico e compendio Umberto I a Mestre" in, Martinelli P. (curated by), Fare centro- Proposte per il centro città di Mestre, Marsilio ed., Venezia, pp 119/121. ISBN 88-317-9728.  Publication of my paper and project for the Umberto I neighborhood, Mestre (IT).

2010. Magda Minguzzi, “Housing in via Vallenari, Mestre-Venice” (2008) in Enrico Prandi (curated by), Community/architecture. Documents from the Festival Architettura 5, 2009-2010”, FA edizioni, Parma, ISBN 88-89739-14-2

2020-21. Magda Minguzzi, "THE SPIRIT OF WATER. Practices of Cultural Re appropriation  indigenous heritage sites along the coast of the Eastern Cape-South Africa", FUP Florence University Press, http://www.fupress.com. Book accepted, peer-reviewed, to be printed at the beginning of 2021.

2020. Contributor to the "Cultural Heritage for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: A policy guidance for all Cultural Heritage and Development Actors" by Labadi S., Giliberto F., Rosetti S., Shetabi L., Yildirim E. (draft 12, 2020), ICOMOS-International Council of Monuments and Sites