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House Martienssen - Greenside House
Greenside, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Rex Distin MARTIENSSEN: Architect

Street:53 Cruden Bay Rd


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26°08'40.22" S 28°00'42.92" E Alt: 1597m

MARTIENSSEN’s own house in Greenside is a seminal work which has become a symbol and exemplar of the shifts and changes of the introduction and adaptation of the modern movement in South Africa. Early drawings of the house show the clear influences of Le Corbusier and the compositional influences of Leger. The final design, in its first version, is still in that idiom. The house as built, however, retains the spatial and volumetric relationships but there are significant deviations - a rich surface modulation and variety of materials, framing of the facade and its articulation as a two-dimensional surface - which all contribute to an almost classical repose.

The references are many: Renaissance frontality, Terragni (with whom MARTIENSSEN was corresponding at the time), Kandinsky, Hilion, Nicholson and Leger.

(Ivor Prinsloo in UIA, 1985: 59)

Transcription of Blue Plaque:



53 Cruden Bay Road, Greenside was designed
by Rex Distin Martienssen as his own residence.
The house was completed in 1939 and is regarded as
a seminal work of the Transvaal Group which
spearheaded the introduction and adaptation of the
modern movement in South Africa. The house
shows strong influences of Le Corbusier. It is
a simple and elegant design that utilises
local materials effectively.

Books that reference House Martienssen - Greenside House

Beck, Haig (Editor). 1985. UIA International Architect : Southern Africa (Issue 8). London: International Architect. pg 59
Herbert, Gilbert. 1975. Martienssen & the international style: The modern movement in South African architecture. Cape Town - Rotterdam: AA Balkema. pg 179, 218-225