Women’s Month Feature: Q&A with Tanja A. Lyhs
5 August 2021 Get Inspired

Women’s Month Feature: Q&A with Tanja A. Lyhs

In celebration of Women’s month, we had the pleasure to have a conversation with Tanja Lyhs, a phenomenal interior architect from Efficiency Design & Consulting.

In celebration of Women’s month, we had the pleasure to have a conversation with Tanja Lyhs, a phenomenal interior architect from Efficiency Design & Consulting. Tanja’s drive, hard work and dedication comes through in everything that she does, a true motivation to fellow women and aspiring architectures. Here’s everything you need to know about this powerhouse:


1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Tanja Lyhs, I was born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia, but my parents are both from Europe, so I am first generation African.

a. Where did you study architecture? I studied at the University of Stellenbosch, but the course was more equal to Interior Architecture than purely architecture.

b. Why did you choose this career path? Architecture and design run in my veins. My mother was a technician for engineering firms and watching her work was always my favourite. My father was a blacksmith and his hobby was building and renovating our houses, so I learned from an early age that one can do some amazing things with a lot of imagination and little money. That’s the reason I still choose to be in the profession that I am in.


2. What are some of the major challenges you’ve encountered professionally, and how were these overcome?

Despite the ever-changing times in our societies, there are still some older generation men that do not think a woman knows anything about the building industry. I have butted heads with a few of these to date. The other challenge I find are the new generation of architects and engineers. They believe that they know everything and are not open to learn from others experience.

But the biggest problem I still encounter is the attitude of ‘non-sharing’ between the professions. This is something that is very hard to overcome as it lies with every individual itself to be the change. I overcome this by freely sharing and teaching whoever is willing to listen, learn and ask.


3. Can you describe some of the highlights of your career to date?

For me my biggest highlight was opening my own consulting firm many years ago and being able to keep it open despite Covid times.
The other highlights would be every project I finish with the outcome being that of a very happy client. My aim is always to give client a better work or living environment, and if this is what I achieve in the end, that counts as building a legacy.


4. Can you describe your experience working with the team at LIXIL Africa?

I have worked with LIXIL even before it was known as LIXIL. They represent some of the oldest and most reliable brands that we work with in Namibia.
To date, I can only say that it is the brand one could always rely on, be it supply or spare parts.


5. Do you believe women bring a unique perspective to your profession? If so, can you explain how?

Women will always bring a different and unique perspective to the architecture and design industry. We think about spaces and the use of them in a very different way than the opposite gender. Taking myself as an example, when I work with clients, I always make sure I understand their needs and wants before designing. There are many people that are unhappy with the professional service they receive because they do not feel heard or understood. This is something that takes years of practice but being a woman, one does have an advantage.


6. What would your advice be to other women interested in studying architecture?

If it is your dream, go for it, reach for the stars. Don’t believe in anybody who says you cannot do it or achieve greatness. Define yourself, be different, be weird, be feminine, stand your ground. Just because it is a male dominated profession in the past does not mean you cannot become one of the greats. Persistence is key and be true to yourself and always be real.


7. What motto do you live by?

That is a hard one, but I think my main mottos are: Forgive and forget. Do not live in the past or hold grudges, they will hold you back. Live today and look forward to tomorrow, and always remember to travel!