Transvaal Group


The first graduates from the sub-continent to make their mark internationally were from the newly established School of Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand (1923). Its first architectural students brought the Modern Movement to the sub-continent with their publication zero hour (1933, the sans-serif uncapitalized lettering a deliberate choice, showing solidarity with the Bauhaus). In their seminal publication Mies and LE CORBUSIER were heralded as role models. Le Corbusier was sent an issue of zero hour and responded with an approving letter, published in the South African Architectural Record (1936, volume 20, number 11, pages 381-3) and used to preface his Ouevre Complete. South Africa, and the Rand of the Transvaal province was thus at the cutting edge of the Modern Movement in the post-Depression years. In his missive le Corbusier coined the term the 'Transvaal Group' (le Groupe Transvaal) for the young Turks, a term which has stuck.