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Las Vegas

167 Snell Parade, North Beach.

The work of Crofton and Benjamin was part of a rapid phase of development in Durban's post-war history, and Las Vegas was one of several blocks built along the northern beachfront during a short period of time. The bulk of the building runs parallel to the beachfront, but potential monotony is avoided by faceting the front façade into three angles, thereby adding a sense of dynamism and movement to the 'wall' of buildings that occupies Snell Parade. These angled splays also indicate the articulation between the three apartments on each floor. Although similarly composed, the units are inflected to take advantage of their respective positions. The northern unit returns down the side street, taking advantage of north light for the bedrooms, while the central and southern units are angled to engage views up and down the coastline.

In Las Vegas, the division between base, shaft and capital becomes particularly evident. The lower levels bulge outward to reconcile the horizontal plane of the earth with the vertical plane of the building’s mass, while the penthouse floor is articulated to reduce the harshness of the building’s silhouette, which is supplemented by the delightful circular holes punched through the cantilevered roof slab. The residential bulk is thus suspended between these components, seeming to hover between earth and sky.