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365 DRAWINGS OF SOUTH AFRICAN ARCHITECTURE

The southern tip of Africa entered the global consciousness from the 15th century. Its strategic position on the sea route between Europe and the East, at a time when a number of European powers were attempting to break the Venetian monopoly on trade, led to tentative explorations of its interior, at first, quickly followed by permanent settlement by the Dutch in the 17th century. They did not find an unoccupied land. Bantu-speaking people had settled in villages in Southern Africa from about 1,800 years ago, and the San have lived in Southern Africa for more than 20,000 years.

A survey of the built environment of South Africa, by necessity, may only cover what exists, and the sad reality of colonial conquest is that precious little of the built environment prior to the 17th century remains. The recent discovery of Kweneng, a Tswana settlement outside Johannesburg dating back to the 15th Century, suggests that it was home to up to 10,000 people. How many more cities and edifices lie destroyed and forgotten?

What does remain, though, is rich, complex and fascinating. A vernacular in the Cape, influenced by Dutch, Malay, French and British designs, but uniquely adapted to the climate and landscape. Architecture associated with the colonial ambitions of Britain in the 19th century, displaying the products of its Industrial Revolution. The built expression of Afrikaner nationalism, first expressed as a rejection of British colonial antecedents and then in the enthusiastic adoption of aspects of Modernism. The architectural manifestation the importation of indentured labour from India to work on the sugarcane farms of Natal. The cultural hegemony of the United States in the 20th century, and its imprint on the cities of South Africa. And, more recently, an attempt by architects to create a vernacular that is respectful of the landscape, responsive to the climate, and cognisant of the country’s many social challenges.

The architecture of South Africa is therefore, paradoxically, a product of its isolation, and its importance as a connector between East and West. 

This survey is a personal one, and we are sure that many omissions will be noted, but we hope that the reader is left with an appreciation of the important architectural legacy of South Africa, and perhaps with some fresh insights into how it came into being.

 

Brett McDougall, December 2021

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OPTION 1

STANDARD EDITION

R850.00 Inclusive of VAT

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OPTION 2

LIMITED EDITION, SIGNED AND

NUMBERED 1 TO 100

  • INCLUDES AN A4 SIZE PRINT OF YOUR CHOICE FROM THE 365 SERIES.

  • YOUR NAME LISTED IN THE BOOK AS A SUBSCRIBER

  • LINEN COVER WITH DEBOSSED TYPEFACE

R2 800.00 Inclusive of VAT

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OPTION 3

LIMITED EDITION OF 26 COPIES - SIGNED AND NUMBERED A TO Z

  • INCLUDES A NEW AND ORIGINAL A4 SIZED DRAWING OF YOUR CHOICE FROM THE 365 SERIES.

  • YOUR NAME LISTED IN THE BOOK AS A SUBSCRIBER

  • LINEN COVER WITH SLIP CASE AND DEBOSSED TYPEFACE

R5 000.00 Inclusive of VAT

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