I was recently invited on a site visit to The Kagye Samye Dzong, Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Centre in Kensington. It is a remarkable and little known heritage house in this suburb.
The article below, written by journalist Lucille Davie, reveals some of the amazing discoveries that were made during the restoration of the Drill Hall in 2003. The article was originally published on the City of Joburg's webite on 27 June 2003. Click here to view more of Davie's writing.
I found Mike Alfred's article about Jonathan and Geoff Klass absolutely fascinating as I have known Collectors Treasury and the Klass Brothers from the time they started up in business at what we now known as 44 Stanley Avenue (click here to read the article). Those were the days when for a young collector recently returned to Johannesburg there were wonderful book bargains and a great shared joy in finding good books. I have watched the business grow to the pre
Ladies and gentlemen. What a marvellous, almost miraculous Day this is for friends, neighbours and all the conservationists who stood with us holding protest banners 10 years ago. We were devastated when the buildings were demolished and for nearly three years there was a complete impasse. The authorities would not take any action, stop orders were in place and we in the heritage lobby could not see a way forward.
In the article below, well known journalist Lucille Davie tells the epic story of the battle to save the Markhams Building from demolition in the late 1970s. The piece was first published on the City of Joburg's website on 15 February 2012. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
The wonderful article below, written by journalist Lucille Davie, looks at the history and preservation of one of Joburg's grandest historic mansions. The piece first first appeared on the City of Johannesburg's website on 23 March 2004. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
In the article below, journalist and joburg enthusiast Lucille Davie takes a look at the restoration of one of Parktown's historic homes. The piece first appeared on the City of Joburg's website on 31 March 2010. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
It has been about four decades since the people of Johannesburg rallied to put pressure on the Johannesburg City Council and the Foschini Group to save the Markhams Building from demolition. The article below, written by J Campbell-Pitt representing the then Transvaal Institute of Arhitects, reveals the architectural and historical significance of the building. The piece was published in the August 1979 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie looks at the epic transformation of spaces across three buildings to form the Wits Art Museum (WAM). The piece is unique as Davie was able to draw from her experience on a behind the scenes tour shortly before WAM opened. The article was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 6 March 2012. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
The old Durban Railway Station is a much-loved landmark that plays a key role in Durban's tourism offering. It is hard to imagine there was a time when the powers that be planned to demolish the structure and redevelop the site. The article below which appeared in the Sunday Tribune on 10 October 1976, begins by describing the threat to the building and then highlights its architectural and historical significance. Thankfully the façade of the building was saved with a new office building built behind.
The short article below, written by an unknown author, tells the story of the restoration of the Old Ireland Building (Edgars) on Church Street, Pietermaritzburg. The piece appeared in the 1979 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.
The article below was written by Peter Jackson and appeared in the 1994 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). As the title suggests, it reveals the history and restoration of Harare's oldest house located at 110 Livingstone Avenue. Jackson was then the Honorary Historic Buildings advisor to the City of Harare as well as chairman of the Historic Buildings Advisory Committee to the Harare Museum of Human Science.
The news that the Ornico Group has moved its headquarters from a prime Sandton address to the Joburg CBD is making waves in heritage and property circles. Over the past year, the company has been refurbishing the historic Natal Bank Building and in recent weeks over 100 employees have moved in. This is a major psychological boost for the ongoing revival of the historic heart of Johannesburg.
[Originally published in June 2015]. By the end of the first quarter of 2016 work on the landmark Stuttafords Building on the corner of Rissik and Pritchard Streets in central Johannesburg should be complete. The building is being transformed from abandoned retail space into upmarket residential units (approximately 120). We are ecstatic that this project is underway after a series of false dawns in the last few years.
Diagonal Street is one of Johannesburg's iconic streets with an energy hard to find anywhere else. It is difficult to imagine a time when its very existence was threatened. The following compilation of sources provides an overview of the preservation of Johannesburg's most famous street scene. The details appeared in a survey conducted by Johann and Catharina Bruwer in the early 2000s. Thank you to the City of Johannesburg for giving us permission to publish.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is one of the great South African adaptive reuse case studies. Below is an in depth article on the work conducted during the first phase of this landmark project (completed 1990/1). The piece appeared in the 1992 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.
[Originally published in 2014] Andrew Carnegie, an American philanthropist, wrote an article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” and urged the wealthy to improve society. When he made the offer of a Library, Muizenberg, like many other villages, took advantage of his generosity. In 1910, The Carnegie Library replaced the first library in the Municipal offices.
In 1996, George Zondagh, then Chief Architect at the Department of Public Works, set out a few ideas about the role of the Department in heritage preservation. Although some parts of the article are out of date, many of the key principles are just as relevant today as they were two decades ago. The article first appeared in Restorica, the joural of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permision to publish.
About five years ago I stumbled over weeds and litter to get a glimpse of the crumbling Edwardian Lavatory in Newtown. I wondered how many more times I would be able to visit the heritage gem before the forces of neglect consumed her. When Atterbury announced its plans for the massive Newtown Junction development I prayed that this would mean a second life for the historic structure. Thankfully my prayers were answered and the developers along with their heritage consultants kept the building safe and secure during three years of construction.
The original conversion of part of the Newtown Market Buildings to create the Market Theatre complex in the mid 1970s is one of the great adaptive reuse success stories in South Africa. The complex is one of Joburg's cultural icons and a huge asset to the reviving Newtown Precinct. In the article below Nigel Mandy describes the fight, vision and generosity that it took to get the initial project going.
In or around 1970, when the Department of Dramatic Art was about to open the following year, I was visited by John van Zyl and Art de Villiers, who had been appointed to the staff of the Dramatic Art Department. They were in a bit of a panic because notwithstanding that the Department was opening in a matter of a few weeks, no provision had been made for a performing venue.
Friday 16 October 2015 was a very special day in the history of Tiger Kloof. We opened of the Old Tigers' Hall (which use to be a girls dining hall before apartheid's Bantu Education Act closed the school). The renovated building is dedicated to the memory of all the Old Tigers who attended the institution from 1904 until it was closed in 1962. The building had been derelict for 52 years until last year, when a grant from the Anglo American Chairman's Fund enabled renovation of the old school's girls dining hall.
On a Saturday in mid October 2015, a group of Johannesburg Heritage Foundation members gathered in Rissik Street in front of what older Johannesburg citizens knew as the Johannesburg City Hall. Today the building is the Gauteng Legislature. We met on the City Hall steps, standing on what was once the historic market square, laid out in Johannesburg in 1886. It is a space that has seen vast transformations, buildings have come and gone, ideas about city centre layouts have altered.
"Shandukani is a Venda word meaning 'change' and is an appropriate name for a facility that represents multiple aspects of positive change: the value of public/private partnerships; the transformation of a derelict building with heritage status into a thoroughly modern facility that nonetheless preserves its historical stature; and the positive impact on change we can all have." Yael Horowitz
In 2009 local businessman Gerrit van der Stelt stumbled across a small demolition notice attached to a boundary wall of the highly significant Tait House in Benoni. What followed was a desperate struggle by the community to preserve the historic home. The Heritage Portal is happy to report that not only is the house still standing but it could also become a powerful symbol of the ability of old and new to coexist and thrive.
After many years of depressing headlines there is finally some good news for the Germiston Carnegie Library. The following fascinating piece has been compiled by Nicholas Clarke, the heritage consultant on the project. [Originally published 13 October 2014]
The façade of the Provincial Building in downtown Johannesburg never fails to turn heads. It was preserved and incorporated into Surrey House in the early 1990s. Below is an overview of events compiled by Johann Bruwer (published courtesy of the City of Johannesburg).
The question above is one that has been asked and answered many times over the years. We are repeating it now as we feel the South African Heritage community needs to continuously push the simple idea that we can help the country to achieve its development goals. This idea is expressed throughout the City of Johannesburg's Heritage Policy. Below are a few excerpts from this policy: