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House Kotzé
Bloemfontein, Free State

Stephanus Rudolf (Fanie) VAN JAARSVELD: Architect

Date:1960
Type:Homestead
Status:Extant

HA Kotzé was a young lecturer in Agricultural Economics at the University of Pretoria who moved to The University of the Free State in 1960 to advance his career. He (later best known as Prof Whitey Kotzé) would serve as Departmental Head and also Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture up to his retirement in 1990. He recognised the architect, VAN JAARSVELD, as a fellow Old-Tukkie and asked him to design a house for him and his family. He bought the erf at an auction at a very reasonable price because the fact that it had been quarried before deterred most of the other potential buyers.

Kotzé instructed VAN JAARSVELD to do whatever he could to save costs. He had a severely limited budget within which VAN JAARSVELD had to work. The architect decided to place the house on steel columns in the quarry hole and to bridge over the entrance to street level. A second-hand mining conveyor belt was used as floor surface on the bridge. Other innovative non-conventional construction methods for the Free State were for instance the inner walls (expanded metal on wooden frame that was plastered over) and the wooden roof that was waterproofed. The lower level was filled in over time as more space was required.

Bannie BRITZ and Fanie VAN JAARSVELD were in the same class at the University of Pretoria and BRITZ would refer to VAN JAARSVELD as the star student of their year. Both of them admired the work of a senior student, Gawie FAGAN, during their years of training in Pretoria and both of them produced houses that showcased the influence of their training not unlike FAGAN's own house, Die Es, dating from 1965. This house pre-dates Die Es and is arguably the best example by VAN JAARSVELD. Compare also BRITZ's own retirement house in Waverley, just across the valley, not far from House Kotzé.

Kobus DU PREEZ
2016 06 08