“YONDER LIES YOUR HINTERLAND”: RHODES, BAKER AND THE TWISTED STRANDS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN ARCHITECTURAL TRADITION

J.M. Claassen

Abstract


This article considers the various strands that make up the classical architectural tradition in South Africa. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, under British rule the tradition of the Palladian style for civic buildings and of Graeco-Roman building styles for institutions of higher learning reflected the imperial ideals of South Africa’s political overlords. This was the tradition in which Sir Herbert Baker had been trained and which he encountered when he reached South Africa late in the nineteenth century. South African architecture would have been less rich without the strong influence of Cecil John Rhodes’ admiration for indigenous Cape Dutch architecture on Baker’s architectural taste. This architecture was strongly rooted in another aspect of the classical tradition. During Dutch economic and imperial rule, the northern European style of classicistic or baroque gabling on perpendicular buildings had at the Cape been translated into the gables of sprawling low buildings. Illustrations show earlier examples of classical styles at the Cape, including examples of the second classical strain (via Holland and Germany) in South African architecture, so much admired by Rhodes. The article continues with an examination of some of Baker’s best known buildings that show a blending of these two strands. It ends with some thoughts on the durability of the Classical tradition and neo-classical vestiges in post-colonial (and postapartheid) South Africa.

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: https://doi.org/10.7445/54-0-28

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.



ISSN 2079-2883 (online); ISSN 0303-1896 (print)

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.

http://akroterion.journals.ac.za/public/site/images/scholar/g3010_768

Disclaimer:

This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help