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Johannesburg Civic Centre
Johannesburg, Gauteng

ASSOCIATED ARCHITECTS FOR THE JOHANNESBURG CIVIC CENTRE: Architect

Date:1963
Type:Municipal Offices
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
26°11'27.30" S 28°02'23.58" E Alt: 1778m

In the 1960's, the Johannesburg City Council procured a consolidated site of approximately 25 acres (10.12ha) in Braamfontein, with the express intention to erect a new Civic Centre within which all their Administrative Offices could be accommodated.

The aim was to create "…. a focal point for the cultural activities of the City and for local government." The Conditions called for "…. a fine architectural setting and imaginative landscaping."

To ensure that the project was worthy of Johannesburg, it was decided to invite local and overseas architects to submit designs in an open competition. A panel of assessors was chosen consisting of Mr. B L Loffell (Chairman), Prof Sir William HOLFORD, Mr. John COWIN, Prof John FASSLER and Mr. Norman HANSON.

A total of 392 architects or groups of architects applied for the Competition Conditions; of these only 74 competitors submitted designs, of which one was disqualified for not submitting an Estimate of Cost. A total of more than seventeen hundred drawings were submitted and assessed.

The submissions were to be made in two Parts. The buildings in Part 1 were to be designed in detail; the buildings in Part II were to be indicated in outline only. This was to ensure a considered provision for future expansion.

After a prolonged examination of the drawings submitted, the Assessors made the following unanimous award:

Part I: Competitor No 40 Design placed First, with a premium of R3 000.00
Competitor No 70 Design placed Second, with a premium of R2 500.00
Competitor No 35 Design placed Third, with a premium of R2 000.00
Competitor No's 1, 72 & 74 Design placed Fourth, with a premium of R1 500.00 divided equally
Part II: Competitor No's 40, 70 and 35 to equally share the prize of R4 000.00

The First placed design (No 40) was submitted by a group of seven architects - all of whom had studied at the University of the Witwatersrand. The seven architects were:

M. L. BRYER
M. M. BERNS
S. FEITELBERG
N. A. de H. LANGE
E. L. LASER
W. O. MEYER
P. L. SCHWELLNUS

The Second placed design (No 70) was submitted by HWE STAUCH, VORSTER & PARTNERS, of Pretoria.

The Third placed design (No 35) was submitted by Peafield and Bodgener of Kampala, Uganda.

The designs placed equal Fourth (No's 1, 72 & 74) were submitted by Jack BARNETT and F. Lamond STURROCK; MORGENSTERN & MORGENSTERN of Johannesburg; and MOROSS & GRAFF of Johannesburg respectively.

Ref: Johannesburg Civic Centre Competition 1962, Supplement to the South African Architectural Record, City Council Johannesburg, January, 1963.

The seven individual architects duly styled their joint practice as The ASSOCIATED ARCHITECTS FOR THE JOHANNESBURG CIVIC CENTRE. However as time passed there were changes in the composition of the practice.

By 1967 The ASSOCIATED ARCHITECTS FOR THE JOHANNESBURG CIVIC CENTRE was made up of the following four practices:

BRYER, SCHULTZ & RODD
WATSON PARTNERSHIP
N. A. de H. LANGE
P. L. SCHWELLNUS

In 1969 The Associated Architects for the Johannesburg Civic Centre, had again changed and comprised the following three practices:

MONTE BRYER & RODD
WATSON, PEISER & GROBBELAAR
P. L. SCHWELLNUS

Ref: Practice names transcribed from the title blocks of Civic Centre drawings in the collection of Richard LATIMER, who worked on the Civic Centre project from 1973 to 1977 and also designed some of the light fittings.

Precast cladding: LUPINI BROTHERS

[William MARTINSON, December 2010]

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.


Writings about this entry

Doran, Ian (Editor). 1978. Johannesburg. Johannesbrg: Thomson Publication. pg 11, 13
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 157-158