Durban Buildings & Architecture
The conservatism of early 20th Century Durban meant that, with the exception of a few examples, International Style modernism only took hold in the city after the Second World War, when industrial manufacturing in South Africa experienced new growth, leading to the economic boom of the 1950s and ‘60s.
In the 1950s Durban embraced the new Brazilian flamboyance, with Izzy Benjamin as its champion (see Crofton and Benjamin brochure). Thereafter, the mantle was taken over by Hans Hallen, one of the first graduates in Architecture at what was then the University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal), who began his career with apartment developments.
In Hallen’s early buildings, brick and concrete surfaces were usually white-washed or textured, but gradually these materials were left exposed, the concrete surface bearing the imprint of the wooden formwork. Le Corbusier called this beton brut, effectively coining the term Brutalism which became characteristic of the architecture of the period.
Researcher: Prof. Walter Peters
Photographer(s): Angela Bucklandc/o Andre DuvenagePaul Wijgers
Contributor(s): Lindsay Napier