"Architecture can make you happier. Urban planning can make us equal"


Hello, everyone!

Building trust and understanding with my clients is essential for me, as you know me better, I hope to inspire confidence in our potential collaboration. Here's a glimpse into my background.

I, Architect

I began my architectural education in my hometown, Arequipa, Perú, where I graduated with a professional degree in Architecture and Urban Planning in 2008 from the Universidad Nacional de San Agustin (UNSA). During this time, I worked for a construction company, where I gained experience in construction management. Later, I worked with two architecture studios, specializing in high-end residential and commercial projects, further expanding my knowledge and expertise in design.

Welcome to South Africa

I came to South Africa in 2008 and joined LYT Architecture, a company with a diverse portfolio ranging from industrial, residential and leisure projects, both locally and across various African countries. Throughout my 6 years in the company, I was part of numerous projects and took on various roles. the company provided me with a rich and multifaceted professional experience, acquiring skills in project management, coordination, and collaboration with multiple consultants.

Journey ignites passion

In 2013, I embarked on an incredible adventure, traveling through India and Southeast Asia for almost a year. This eye-opening experience exposed me to diverse people, cultures, cities, modes of transport, cuisines, and more. I witnessed with fascination the way people interacted in various spaces based on their cultural, historical, and contextual differences, especially concerning urban planning and mobility issues. This journey sparked an interest in creating spaces where people with different backgrounds can come together, share, and interact.


Let's do it my way!

Upon returning to South Africa, I founded Paloma Leé Architect, where I focused mainly on residential projects. My conversations with clients, learning from their stories and understanding their lifestyles proved to be incredibly gratifying. This experience deepened my understanding of how architecture can significantly shape people's lives, interactions, and well-being, while also solidifying my intention to create spaces that foster human connection and positively impact people’s lives.


From Design to research

Driven by my growing interest in urban planning, in 2018 I decided to pursue the Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy Design at Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI). This transformative experience equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to address complex urban challenges. Subsequently, I joined the Research Master on Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) through the ERASMUS program. During my time at UvA I learned about the intricacies of the research process, recognizing its importance for effective problem-solving. Subsequently, I wrote a paper based on my thesis titled Bicycle Commuting as a Tool for Equity Advancement in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, which is currently under review. The research enabled me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainable transportation practices in low-income communities and vulnerable groups.

Simultaneously, my academic journey fuelled a deepening interest in public policy, further broadening my perspective on the interconnected realms of urban planning and governance. This is how, as part of my research, I also formulated a set of policies designed to bolster the community through cycling initiatives, which I intend to implement soon. 


What now?!

I want to use my experience as an architect to design spaces that prioritize well-being. A home where you love to be, a library that transcends reading and knowledge-seeking but that serves as a multifunctional hub providing support for job searches or navigating government forms. A park where you can meet friends, offering cool shaded full of trees areas amidst the sweltering summer heat, serving as a secure space for forging new connections and fostering cultural understanding. My objective is to create spaces that enrich lives, fostering happiness, community, and a shared appreciation for diverse experiences.

As an urban planner, I want to research and collaborate with individuals, communities and institutions to undertake projects aiming at improving the lives of those facing disadvantage. It is a priority for me to facilitate the establishment of meaningful connections among diverse stakeholders and engage in collaborative interdisciplinary initiatives, working towards a common goal. My ambition is to develop solutions that extend beyond addressing immediate needs, aiming to foster lasting change, challenging the status quo and transforming the structures perpetuating inequality and injustice. Through these efforts, I want to contribute to the development of cities that are more inclusive, sustainable and equitable for everyone.

09 – 2021

Sudan Arts and Design Library - International Competition

Neighbourhood Scale Category - 1st place

In collaboration with Urban Diorama

Under Review

Bicycle commuting as a tool for equity advancement in Diepsloot Johannesburg

Co-author: Paola Pucci - Politecnico di Milano

Journal of International Development

07 - 2021

Driving Forward Social and Solidarity Economy: The Case of South Africa’s Taxi Industry

Podcast Publication as part of the writing workshop “The Economics of the New Reality – Looking at the World Under the Pandemic from Pluralist Lenses” 

Team of three.

03 – 2021

ICI: A Manifesto for Urban Justice

“A Manifesto for the Just City” published by Delft University of Technology (TU Delft – Open)

In collaboration with Urban Diorama