An informal rating of the Art Deco significance of each building is given as high to low: (A), (B), (C)

Art Deco Foot Route_METRO.jpg

1   (A)

The Cenotaph  

Francis Farewell Square c/r West (Dr Pixley Kaseme) and Gardiner (Dorothy Nyembe) Streets

Eagle, Pilkington &McQueen, Cape Town,1921. Competition-winning entry completedRating in 1926. War memorial in majolica ware with angel and fallen figure set in a secluded and fenced off zone of the square incorporating the Rolls of Honour of the two world wars


2   (B)

Albany Hotel

225 Smith (Anton Lembede) Street

L.T.Obel & A.D.Frolich. July 1938

Multi storey hotel in a prime city location. It has giant order pilasters and a three storey podium with good horizontal strip windows, zig-zag folded spandrels and streamline finial elements.


3   (A)

Enterprise Building

47 Aliwal  (Samora Machel) Street

A A Ritchie McKinley, 1931

A classic Art Deco building, now in revival of sorts. Eight-storey apartment building with distinctive elevational treatment in the form of rich range of stylised geometric animal and abstract figures. Griffons and zig-zag forms at high level with Mayan type heads and a superb eagle form over the entrance. The fasces motifs might indicate sympathy with the advent of Mussolini on the part of the architect or client.



Hollywood Court

1297 Smith (Anton Lembede) Street

Hobbs & Bonieux, 1937

Fourteen storey “skyscraper” in reinforced concrete and plastered brick. Might also be termed “Style Moderne” as the principal design qualities reside in the strong geometric forms which are consistently well arranged around the whole building and which look particularly good in sunlight. Notable entrance hall.

5   (C)


Cape Dutch deco. Recently restored.

6   (A)


c/r Smith  (Anton Lembede) Street & Stanger (Stalwart Simelane) Street

Multi storey residential building with ground floor shops. Chunky geometry and a symmetrical façade to Stanger Street. Curved corner bay windows and vertical emphasis over the entrance.




106 Smith Street

Formerly the Metropole Hotel, now apartments. Brightly painted Miami style building with vertical & horizontal framing elements.


8   (B)

Devonshire Court

103 Victoria Embankment  (Margaret Mncadi Avenue)

Multi storey mixed use building with curved flanks and central bay framed by strong verticals to a final moulded pattern on the upper segment. Superb inlaid hardwood elevator doors.


9   (B)

Quadrant House

c/r Field  (Joe Slovo) Street and Victoria Embankment (Margaret Mncadi Avenue)

W. Street-Wilson (?) 

Formerly a residence for Merchant Navy cadets, now the corporate headquarters of a shipping line and associated companies. Richly decorated in "Spanish, sub-tropical Deco." Good glazed shell motif. Well maintained.


10   (A)

Victoria Mansions

124 Victoria Embankment (Margaret Mncadi Avenue)

Nelson Secombe


Vertical pilasters rising through arcuated first floor. Rich in geometric, animal and marine fantastical decorative features. Glazed tile panel above the entrance commemorates the Union Castle mail ships that called at Durban for so many years.


11   (A)

Willern Court

157 Victoria Embankment  (Margaret Mncadi Avenue)

William Barboure


Fine entrance canopy with stone facing panels and stained glass features.  Original curved glass corner windows have been replaced.  Strong contrasts in vertical and horizontal elements; rectangular and curvilinear forms.  Originally had curved glass corner windows


12   (A)


 7 Broad  (Dr Yusuf Dadoo) Street & Victoria Embankment  (Margaret Mncadi Avenue)

 W C Moffatt & Hirst


Contrast between horizontal and vertical expression leading to the climax of the flying birds.  Steel windows, originally with curved glass corners, fixed flush with the stucco façade. Strong geometric resolution of rear elevation & escape stairs.



13   (A)

Manhattan Court

11 Broad  (Dr Yusuf Dadoo) Street

A G Frolich


Horizontal emphasis maintained by the new aluminium windows.  Authentic and original Entrance Hall with fine light fittings and benches.


14   (B)

Plymouth Hoe

45 Broad  (Dr Yusuf Dadoo) Street

S Patraka


S.Patraka, 1936. Salisbury House, P O Box 1111.

Flats for C L Moon.            

Alterations by Hirst & Simpson, 1962.

Good skyline


15   (A)

Nordic Court

55 Broad (Dr Yusuf Dadoo) Street

c1933, addition by

AG Frolich


Additional floor  added by Frolich & Kass, 1947.

 Strong verticals.Good, imaginative decorative panels.  Similar to a building in Miami.


16   (A)

Broadway Court

57 Broad   (Dr Yusuf Dadoo) Street c/r St Georges  (Maude Mfusi) Street

AG Frolich


A G Frolich, November 1933, for P E P Rorvick. Strong horizontal emphasis. Verging on “Style Moderne”. Zigzag parapet.


17   (A)

McIntosh House

455-457 West  (Dr Pixley Kaseme) Street

Geoffrey E. le Sueur ARIBA.

May 1935

Six storey building with ground floor shops and apartments above. Novel plan with bathrooms on balconies. Heavily modulated façade contained by vertical fluted pilasters. Central section projects forward with horizontal concrete slab capping.


18  (A)

Bales Building

436 West (Dr Pixley Kaseme) Street

Nine storey apartment building with ground floor commercial use. Verging on 'Style Moderne". Has two full height fluted colonnettes and curved corners. Capped by a horizontal slab with curved corners.


19   (A)

Prefcor House

formerly Payne Bros

398 West  (Dr Pixley Kaseme) Street

Heavily modulated, multiple squared vertical elements. Visually broken up by vertical lines


20   (A)


390 West  (Dr Pixley Kaseme) Street

Commercial building with highly original curved cornice supported on bold cantilever brackets and zig-zag patterning in dark blue tiles below.


21   (A)

Chester House

388 West (Dr Pixley Kaseme) Street

Some Art Deco features.

Caretaker’s Flat added, Sept 1935.Cowin, Powers & Ellis, Johannesburg.

Ground floor modernised. Multi storey commercial building with curved geometry and full height vertical engaged pilasters.


22   (B)

Adam’s Booksellers

341 West  (Dr Pixley Kaseme) Street


23   (A)

Colonial Mutual Building

330 West  (Dr Pixley Kaseme) Street

Elsworth, Hennesey & Hennesey, Sydney.


A fourteen-storey commercial building that was the highest in the city until 1939. Richly ornamented with a range of features, some of them like the “barley sugar” columns and heraldic shields. Not strictly AD. Delightful animal and frieze motifs.