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Born: 1940 02 11
Died: 2023 09 20



It is with immense sadness that the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) National office informs members of the passing of Arch. Ian Alexander, a SAIA Life member, who passed away at the age of eighty-three after he succumbed to a severe stroke in Cape Town on Wednesday, 20 September 2023.

He was a remarkable individual who touched the lives of so many, and his loss will be felt profoundly by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Ian Alexander, who hailed from the fifth generation of Robert Ian Bruce Alexander’s in South Africa, was born on 11 February 1940, in Kimberley, Ian's educational journey took him to schools in Kimberley, Louis Trichardt, and Port Elizabeth, where he completed his matriculation at Victory Park High School.

He pursued his passion for architecture at the University of Cape Town (UCT), earning his degree in 1964. During his time at university, he met Gill, his future wife, with whom he enjoyed fifty-seven years of marriage. Their family expanded to encompass two children, Robyn and Evan. In the year 2020, the couple embarked on their retirement journey, relocating to the esteemed Evergreen Lifestyle Centre situated in Noordhoek, Cape Town. This move was prompted by their desire to reside in close proximity to their cherished children and two adored grandchildren.

As a fresh graduate, Ian embarked on his career with Colyn and Meiring Architects. He successfully contributed to numerous significant building projects, including the Heerengracht Hotel in 1969. Around 1974, he relocated to the firm's Pretoria office, eventually becoming an integral part of MV3 Architects. Following the closure of MV3 Architects around 1997, Ian continued to practice independently until his well-deserved retirement in 2021. Ian also left an enduring mark on his field as a part-time lecturer in Professional Practice, Law, and Contract Management at the Tshwane University of Technology in his teaching and mentorship. Inspiring countless young architects, leaving an indelible mark on the future of the profession.

Ian's contributions to the field of architecture were nothing short of extraordinary. His dedication and commitment to his profession were evident in every project he undertook and in the lasting impact he made on the architectural community.

Ian's legacy extended far beyond his professional achievements. His involvement in various community organizations and his unwavering commitment to causes he believed in demonstrated his deep sense of social responsibility. His contributions to Trinity Anglican Church where he held roles as church warden and choir member, contributing significantly to the congregation. His involvement in organizations such as the SANParks Honorary Rangers Association, were he served for many years and held office as chairman. In 1997, he was honoured with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship for his community service with the Pretoria Capital Rotary Club where he was active for nearly forty years, having served three terms as the club's president. Ian was also a valuable member of various community organizations, including the Silver Lakes Country Club, the Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof Homeowners Association, Waterkloof Primary School, and Round Table showcasing his boundless dedication to making the world a better place.

Beyond his professional endeavours, Ian was deeply committed to advancing the architectural profession. He was a dedicated member of the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) for fifty-six years, through the Pretoria Institute of Architects. Additionally, he maintained a forty-seven-year membership with the Royal Institute of British Architects and held the title of a registered professional architect with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession.

His contributions to the profession included the creation of the SAIA Client-Architect Agreement and the Compendium of Practice Guidelines. He also served as President of the Pretoria Institute of Architects from 2006 to 2008 and sat on the SAIA National Board during that period. Ian's involvement extended to various committees, including the National Building Research Institute Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Committee (1977-1984), PROCSA (2006-2021), SACAP Professional Fees Committee (2004-2014), and the CIDB Stakeholders Forum. In recognition of his dedicated service, the South African Institute of Architects honoured him with Life Membership in 2016.

Ian's talents were as diverse as they were impressive. His powerful voice in the choir resonated not only in the church but in the hearts of those who heard him. His passion for birding added another layer to his multifaceted personality, revealing a man who found beauty and wonder in the world around him.

As we mourn Ian's passing, let us also celebrate the extraordinary life he lived. He was a loving husband, devoted father, steadfast friend, and a supportive colleague. Above all, Ian will be remembered as a consummate professional, always willing to go the extra mile, lend a helping hand where needed, confront challenges head-on when others hesitated, speak truthfully through candid dialogue, and truly make a difference. He was a loving husband, devoted father and a supportive colleague for SAIA. His legacy will continue to shine through the countless lives he touched.

On behalf of SAIA National Practice, SAIA Board and the entire architectural community, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Ian’s wife Gill and his family during this difficult time of loss.

May His Soul Rest In Peace (MHSRIP). "Mors non est finis" - Death is not the end.

Written by Dr Gillian Adendorff (PhD) on behalf of SAIA Practice Committee

Books citing ALEXANDER

Images Australia (Pty) Ltd. 1993. Building Professionals of South Africa, Volume 1. Melbourne: Images Australia (Pty) Ltd. pp 28-29