Ilana Steenkamp

Ilana Steenkamp

New York, NY, US



As an urbanist, I am inspired by the vibrancy of cities and their potential to provide people with access to opportunities and meaningful everyday experiences through human-centered design. I am currently working as an urban designer and project lead at Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers in Cape Town, South Africa.  I previously worked at ZGF Architects in New York after completing my M.Arch at Parsons School of Design, New York, through the Fulbright Program. I see cities as spaces of engagement and social change, where architecture and design can help in creating healthier, inclusive and meaningful urban environments.



Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers, Cape Town, ZA, Urban Designer and Architect

Urban design for public and private sector developments with the aim of creating more integrated, equitable and livable cities. Currently working towards urban design and architectural delivery of subsidised housing, as well as a Public Realm Framework and Public Space and Streets Guidelines in Cape Town, through a co-design process.

Sep 2019 - current

ZGF Architects LLP, New York, NY, US, Architectural Designer

Architectural development of lab, office, health and institutional buildings in various cities in America.

Jun 2018 - Aug 2019

SITELAB urban studio, Cape Town, Summer intern

Working during the summer break on Urban Design projects within the Bay Area. I was involved in compiling presentation material and creating drawings for and guideline documents and client meetings.

Jun 2017 - Aug 2017

VPUU - Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading, Cape Town, ZA, Urban Designer

Working as an Urban Designer on social development projects to create safe and integrated communities within the Cape Town area. This included metro scale mapping and analysis, public participation meetings, creating promotional/graphic design materials, and design at urban as well as precinct scale.

Nov 2015 - Jul 2016

dhk Architects, Cape Town, Junior Urban Designer

Working as an urban designer on various projects within Cape Town, Johannesburg region and Port Elizabeth Central ranging from urban regeneration projects to brownfield and greenfield developments, within a wide range of scales. I was involved in the Dunkled Public Realm Design Guidelines in Johannesburg, the Donkin Village Conceptual Urban Design Framework in Port Elizabeth, and Longkloof Precinct in Cape Town, among others.

Jan 2015 - Nov 2015

VPUU, Cape Town, ZA, Intern Urban Design

A one month internship at VPUU. I was involved in a the Nyanga Urban Node Upgrade. This involved mapping, AutoCAD, QGIS and Sketchup modelling, precedent study and land-use research, site visits, interviewing informal traders and measuring up of informal trading stalls.

Nov 2013 - Dec 2013

University of Cape Town, Cape Town, History and Theory of Architecture Tutor

I tutored History and Theory of Architecture (HATA3) in the first semester of 2013. The course focuses on the history of Modernist architecture.

Feb 2013 - Jul 2013

Janaa Urban Space Founddation + Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Bangalore, IN, Design Intern

I did an internship at Janaagraha and the Jana Urban Space Foundation at the end of 2012. Here I was involved in their Tender S.U.R.E project that focuses on urban road renewal in the inner city of Bangalore (Brigade Road specifically). This involved design development, SketchUp modelling and CAD drawings for road renewal that promotes pedestrian-friendly streets and urban regeneration.

Nov 2012 - Dec 2012

ST&AR architects, Cape Town, ZA, Architecture Intern

Involved in mainly residential projects from initial concept design stages to council & construction drawings. This involved conceptual design, AutoCAD & SketchUp modelling, meetings with clients and contractors and site visits.

Mar 2012 - Nov 2012

Slum Dwellers International - Cape Town, Cape Town, ZA, Architecture Intern

AutoCAD and Sketchup modelling and site visits for the re-blocking of an informal settlement (Sheffield Road)

Jul 2011 - Jul 2011


The New School, New York, NY, US, MArch, M. Architecture AP

Aug 2016 - May 2018

University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Master of Planning and Urban Design

Jan 2013 - Dec 2014

University of Cape Town, Cape Town, BArch, Bachelor of Architectural Studies

Jan 2009 - Dec 2011


Foreign Fulbright Scholarship, Scholarship

Fulbright Scholarship for my Masters in Architecture at Parsons School of Design, the New School.


National Research Fund- Scarce Skills Sholarship, Scholarship

For my Masters in City Planning and Urban Design


Areas of Specialization