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Hurlingham

478 Currie Rd, Essenwood.

Hurlingham occupies a corner site above Durban’s Greyville Racecourse. Largely suspended above ground, it is a four-storey building, including three floors of apartment units and a penthouse floor. Staff quarters and open parking are inserted beneath the bulk of the building.

The building is another boomerang shape in plan and has its short wing running along the contour and the longer mass set against the slope, protruding out toward the city and sea. The boomerang creates a concave wall which frames and captures the garden space in front. The graceful curve is similar to the architecture of the Brazilian Modernists, an appropriate reference, as there are many parallels between the environments of South Africa and Brazil.

One of Crofton and Benjamin’s other projects, the Salt Rock Hotel on the North Coast, takes this reference further and includes a terracotta breeze block screen wall along its back corridors to shield residents from the afternoon sun. Ultimately, all of these sinuous works can trace their genesis to Le Corbusier’s experiments in mass housing. His un-built projects for Rio de Janeiro and Algiers were the first to explore the use of large curvaceous forms set on hills overlooking the city and harbour.