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List of Projects


Born: 1923 11 30
Died: 2016 12 13


Reg No: 1033
Year registered: 1947

BArch. (Witwatersrand).

TPIA (1947); ISAA (1947); ARIBA..

Born in Johannesburg, the son of Elias and Ethel Ambramowitch. He was educated at Athlone High School. He studied architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Architecture. In the Second World War he served with the South African Air Force, University Air Training Squadron (1942-1944).

He served the Jewish Community as a member of the Oxford Synagogue. He was an Executive Member of the Jewish Welfare council and Vice-President of the Kuper Lodge, B'nai B'rith.

As member of the Transvaal Institute he served on the Public Relations Committee (1958-59 and again from 1959-1960).

In 1959 he was part of the firm ABRAMOWITCH, DAVID PINSHOW & SCHNEIDER, at 6th Floor, Mansion House, 132 Market Street, Johannesburg. He received the Institute of South African Architects award for the best religious building in the then Transvaal in the period 1955 till 1964. By 1969 he was a principal in the architectural partnership styled Ambramowitch, Schneider, Sacks and Associates.

In April 1950 he married Maja Schatz by whom he had two sons and two daughters.

Obituary published on Wits Alumni Relations Obituaries

Sidney Abramowitch (1923–2016)

A passionate supporter of Wits, the architect and artist Sidney Abramowitch passed away peacefully on 13 December 2016 in Johannesburg, aged 93. He obtained his BArch degree in 1947 and, in 1989, his MArch (Urban Design) with a thesis on “Development of an African City: With reference to the re-urbanisation of Johannesburg and the Development of an Inner Core”. His mentor and friend was Prof John Fassler, the Dean.

Abramowitch’s career produced many Johannesburg landmarks, including the glass IBM building, Innes Law Chambers and the Apartheid Museum.

He said it was a 'huge privilege' to be involved in the design of the museum, for which South African communities were consulted widely. Explaining the design, he said: 'This is a minimalist building reflecting the fact that apartheid buildings were born of incarceration. We wanted to reflect the harshness, crudity and horror of apartheid.'

He was also a watercolour artist and composer, and spent many hours on the piano – an instrument he adored. A preserver as well as creator, he helped to compile a list of 600 heritage buildings for the Institute of Architects.

According to a 2009 interview in Business Day, the young Abramowitch wanted (like many boys) to be an engine driver, but at school became fascinated with perspective drawing and thus found his vocation. He said: 'Architecture innately is there basically to satisfy human needs from the moment of birth to death.'

His wife, Maja Abramowitch, who wrote about her Holocaust experience in her book 'To Forgive But Not Forget', died in August 2016. He leaves his four children and their families: Diana Smullen (BA 1974)‚ David Abramowitch‚ Karen Aginsky and Roy Abrams.

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

South African Apartheid Museum: 2001. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Project coordinator

Books citing ABRAMOWITCH

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 151

ISAA. 1959. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1958-1959 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1958-1959. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 87, 181