BArch 1952 (Witwatersrand)
Herbert Maurice John Prins attended St Andrew's School in Bloemfontein. At the University of the Witwatersrand he qualified as an architect in 1952, received a Diploma in Town Planning in 1973 and a Masters Degree in Conservation in 1990. Between 1952 and 1955 he was employed by the Harlow Development Corporation in Essex, England, under Sir Frederick Gibberd, returning to South Africa in 1956 to join the practice of HANSON & TOMKIN, Architects in Johannesburg, and TOMKIN & HANSON in Durban. In 1960 He became a partner in charge of the Johannesburg office known as HANSON, TOMKIN & PRINS ARCHITECTS.
Examples of his work at this time are the master plan for the Science Campus and the Physics building on the Science Campus at Natal University, the Mining and Geology Building at Wits University and the Wits Medical Library and Medical School in Esselen Street. He was a Senior Lecturer at Wits University Department of Architecture from 1970 to 1990; Head of Department from 1976 to 1978, being a Member of the Senate in 1981 and 2000, and a member of the Board of the Faculty of Architecture from 1980 to 2000.
He opened the practice of H M J PRINS ARCHITECT specilaising in heritage consulting, and consultancies include, inter alia, the restoration of the Reserve Bank, Pretoria; the restoration of the Pretoria Railway Station (gutted by fire in 2001); Constitution Hill; Kliptown; Newtown Precinct; Fashion District; Emoyeni; the Gautrain Park development; Church Square Post Office alterations; the Barbican; Consolidated Building; Vilakazi Street; Walter Sisulu House; Chancellor House; Windybrow Theatre; Wattville and Thokoza Hostels; Carnegie Library, Germiston; 1928 Building, Pretoria Station.
He has been actively involved in committees such as SACAP and the National Monuments Council (NMC), Provincial Heritage Resources Agency, Gauteng (PHRAG), as President of the Transvaal Institute of Architects (TIA) in 1978 and 1979, President in Chief of the Institute of South African Architects (ISAA) in 1982 and 1983 and is presently Chairman of the Rosebank Action Group (RAG), Acting Chairman of the Egoli Heritage Foundation (formerly the Simon van der Stel Foundation, Witwatersrand Branch) and Vice Chairman of the Johannesburg Heritage Trust.
He administered the architectural competitions for Freedom Square in Kliptown, and the Northern Cape Legislature Building in Kimberley and was an adjudicator for the Liliesleaf Farm and the Constitutional Court competitions. In 2007 together with two others, he administered an architectural competition for the Southbank (Spier Estate) competition and in 2009 administered the architectural competition for the design of a new building to accommodate the offices of the Premier of the Eastern Cape.
His particular interest in heritage has involved him in many projects, including consulting on the ongoing developments at Constitution Hill and at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication. He was awarded the Gold Medal of Distinction of the South African Institute of Architects and the Gold Medal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (now Heritage South Africa).
Compiled by Herbert Prins and submitted by William MARTINSON
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