CAPE TOWN’S ART DECO HERITAGE
PRESENTED BY DR ANDRÉ VAN GRAAN
On 24 May, 2018, an interesting talk on Cape Town’s Art Deco Heritage was given by Dr André van Graan at Durban’s Phansi Museum. He is a former vice chairperson of the Cape Institute for Architecture and chairperson of its Heritage Committee. He is an Associate Professor of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where he held the position of Acting Head of Architectural Technology and Interior Design.
Having grown up in Durban and studied architecture at Natal University, Dr van Graan was able to draw interesting parallels between the development of Art Deco buildings in Cape town and that in Durban. In some cases (eg. W.H. Grant), the same architects were involved. Unlike Durban, where most Art Deco buildings were built for residential accommodation, Cape Town’s were more often for businesses.
Dr van Graan made the interesting observation that many of the architects taking up the Art Deco trend in the 1930’s and 1940’s were of the older school who studied by apprenticeship, rather than the new young university graduates of the era.