About the Firm in-depth information


We are a company of dedicated, reliable and highly qualified Architects. The founding members of Thembela Architects have up to 25 years experience in the building industry with previous involvement at a national level.

Central to our business philosophy is the provision of a total service to our clients from inception to successful completion of a project.
We set out to design buildings of excellence, which achieve and enhance the financial returns required by our clients.
With the support of clients, our designs incorporate energy efficiency, sustainability and passive solar design.
We understand and involve ourselves in all aspects of property development.

We are well aware of the importance of managing the building process to ensure completion of projects within time and cost restraints.

Some our clients include:

Aspen Pharmacare
Cerebral Palsy Association
Department of Public Works
Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature
Eastern Cape Provincial Herigate Resources Authority
Engen Petroleum Limited
First National Bank
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
Rhodes University
Standard Bank of South Africa
St Andrews College
St Andrews Preparatory School
Walter Sisulu University


  • 25 Years of experience
  • 25% Black Owned and Managed
  • Accredited Level 3 BBBEE Contributor
  • Accredited National Department of Public Works consultants
  • Approved Nelson Mandela Metro consultants

Established in 1993, the pratice has traded as Thembela Architects since 2000. Although based in the Eastern Cape, Thembela Architects operates accross the whole of South Africa.
A Branch office is established in Bhisho, managed by Watini Dennis Hlontli and a satellite office has recently been located in Cape Town.
The Main Office, led on a rotating basis by Directors, is located in Port Elizabeth.


Andrew Thomson - B Build (UPE) (cum laude), B Arch (UPE) MIA
Andrew has 21 years experience across a variety of projects with a focus on commercial, educational, corporate and government institutional. Andrew has served as an external examiner of the University of Port Elizabeth Department of Architecture.

Raymond Drake - B Build (UPE) MIA, B Arch (UPE), ND Arch (PE Tech)
Raymond has 26 years experience across a wide variety of projects with a focus on industrial, commercial, institutional and corporate. Raymond has served as chairman of the marketing committee of the East Cape Institute of Architects.

Watini Dennis Hlontli - SACAP (Prof.Snr.Arch.Tech.)
Dennis has 25 years experience across a wide variety of projects with a focus on industrial, government institutional and commercial. Dennis has worked his way through the ranks alongside Raymond and Andrew, and benefitted from in house training and support.

Gavin Schönknecht - B Build (UPE), B Arch (UPE) MIA, ND Arch (PE Tech)
Gavin has 15 years experience across a variety of projects with a focus on industrial, commercial and residential. Gavin has served on the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality Elevation Control Committee. Gavin has also completed the Department of Public Works Targeted Procurement Exam.



2011 Thembela Architects all rights reserved.