The first churches in Durban were built of wattle and daub with thatch roofs. After 1860, this simple construction was superseded by corrugated iron as a more permanent option. Because the corrugated sheeting was affixed to wooden frames which were subject to white ant infestation, buildings were elevated off the ground on piers, an approach that has the added advantages of under-floor ventilation and cooling. Because corrugated iron heats rapidly, the design needed to exclude the rays of the sun during summer and make provision for the escape of hot or stale air.
At the Sea View church, the awning, sailing over the structure and supported by struts, shades the windows and interiors from the sun. The interior is lined with match-boarding for insulation and hot air escapes through an aperture in the ceiling to the roof-space and through the louvres, visible on the gable exterior.