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African Eagle Building - Corner House
Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape

Monty SACK: Architect

Type:Offices with shops to street


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33°57'29.25" S 25°37'08.16" E Alt: 13m

The African Eagle Building (now known as Corner House), c1963, first to be constructed on the sites made available after the widening and realignment of what had been called Queen Street. Following the widening of the street, it was to become a continuation of Main Street, which until this time had run from Market Square to Russel Road only.

New Plot ratios allowed for high-rise development but Planning also required the buildings on the western side to include a first floor walkway.

Inevitability this resulted in the podium type concept being adopted. The architects SOM had received much acclaim for the concept since the construction of Lever House in New York in 1952.

The new building occupies the corner site (Main Street (now Govan Mbeki Ave) and Russel Road and backing onto Evatt Street.) The podium takes up ground to third floor of the 17 storey building. Retail units where located on ground and first floors and originally the building also include a hotel, known as "The Executive Suites", which was one of the best in the city at the time of opening. It is not clear when it closed but it was no longer operating by the mid 1970's.

The building was also one of the earliest in the city to make such extensive use of curtain walling.

(Gerald Humphrey, September 2017)