Form Follows Facade: The Architecture of W. H. Grant 1920-32


Author:Freschi, F
In:Design Issues Vol 20 No 2

The Scottish-born architect William Hood Grant (1879-1957) designed a significant number of buildings in and around Cape Town. This article considers the facades of some of Grant's (and his contemporaries') commercial buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) during the inter-war period, tracing the genealogy of stylistic changes from the highly derivative classicism of the teens and 1920s to the "modernistic" art deco style of the 1930s. It considers the iconographic meanings of the facades in terms of first, the notion of an appropriate response to the South African (and more specifically Capetonian) urban context, and, second, the concept of "modernity" as the sine qua non of corporate expansion and identity in colonial South Africa.