South African architecture
Did you know?
Sir Herbert Baker also had a hand in the planning and design of New Delhi.
Sir Herbert Baker is arguably the most influential figure in architecture in South Africa. Anyone considering local architecture should look at his work as a starting point. Most famously he is the designer of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, which house the offices of government - a South African Capitol Hill. Other buildings of note include the Rhodes memorial and St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, and St John's College in Johannesburg.
The traditional Cape-Dutch style is a cornerstone of architecture in the Cape and is very popular with visitors. The white walls and ornate gables give the region its iconic and picturesque image. The winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschoek are littered with buildings in this style. De Tuynhuys, the president's residence in Cape Town, is another stunning example.
If monuments to decadence strike a chord in your architectural soul then the plethora of art deco buildings that populate the inner cities of South Africa's major metropolises will stir your personal orchestra. The glorious Astor Mansions in Johannesburg, a local imitation of the Chrysler building in America, will get the brass section playing and the Mutual Heights in Cape Town will bring down a thunder of percussion.
Musical metaphors aside, if it's harmony you're in search of then traditional African architecture will get you in synch with nature. The delightful polychromatic colours of the Ndebele have delighted all who see them and the typical "beehive" hut of the Zulu people is as iconic an image of Africa as one can find.
With the growing global warming crisis being faced by the planet, South African architecture has begun to make the move towards a more environmentally-friendly style of construction. If you find yourself staying in Johannesburg, pay a visit to the Forum Homini Hotel in the Cradle of Humankind. It has been developed with these sentiments in mind. Enjoy the best architecture South Africa has to offer in 5-star luxury.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 11 668 7000
Fax: +27 11 668 7010
Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust
Tel: +27 11 482 3349
Lesedi Cultural village
Tel: +27 87 940 9933