Which of our city’s architectural treasures don’t receive the credit they deserve? During lockdown we explored Joburg’s most underrated historic buildings on our Instagram and Facebook pages, and we’re happy to share them here too!
The article below forms part of Mike Alfred's series on Joburg personalities from the first decade of the 21st century. Click here to view Kathy Munro's fantastic introduction and here to view the series index. The stories were written in 2005/6.
Kathy Munro's three part series on the Yeoville Water Tower comes to an end with this piece (click here to view the series index). The article highlights the overall German contribution to early Johannesburg and suggests that the German connection to the Yeoville Water might be a reason why its origins were concealed in 1914/1915.
Below is Part 2 of Kathy Munro's wonderful series on the Yeoville Water Tower (click here to view series index). The piece takes an in-depth look at the historic blueprint and reveals the secrets of the water tower's origins. The article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of Architecture SA. Thank you to Paul Kotze for giving us permission to publish and to Gail Wilson for the use of some of her magnificent photographs.
Many readers will have heard of the discovery of the original Yeoville Water Tower blueprint earlier this year. This discovery sparked a research journey which has culminated in a wonderful series of articles by Kathy Munro (click here to view series index). Below is the first installment which covers the early water supply history of Johannesburg and the origins of the Water Tower.
A few weeks ago I was privileged to be invited by Clive Chipkin to join his Joburg tour for a group of visiting American students from Brown University, USA. The group of 22 postgraduate students spent a week in Johannesburg at the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) in Parktown. Hats off to Brown for devising a study abroad programme on the complexities of South Africa beyond 1994 and its transition to democracy.
On Saturday 7th April 2018, the excellent Joburg Collectable Book Fair at the Rand Club saw at least ten dealers displaying their books, antiquarian maps and prints. Many rare and unusual Johannesburg books were on sale. The event was a huge success with visitors able to enjoy tours of the Club led by Brett McDougall and Brian McKechnie, musical entertainment by Tony Bentell and Selwyn Klass and several interesting talks by Isabel Hofmeyr, Hamilton Wende, James Findlay and Kathy Munro.
The topography of Johannesburg is distinctive with the rocky mountainous ridges and the line of koppies that runs from east to west. These are the quartzite ridges of the famous Witwatersrand. The geology is unique. Viljoen and Reimold (An Introduction to South Africa’s Geology and Mining Heritage) make the point that this is one of the few localities where the evolution of the granitic crust of Southern Africa has been preserved and can be viewed.
In 2014 we experienced the majestic spaces of an abandoned (but secured) apartment building in Yeoville. San Remo was designed by the well-known architect Harry Le Roith and completed in 1937. As you will see from the photographs below the staircase is mindblowing and the flagship apartments ooze class. From the roof you can see some illustrious neighbours including Helvetia Court and the famous Yeoville Water Tower. Forget the signs of neglect for a few minutes and enjoy a phenomenal journey through San Remo. [Originally published in 2014]