Presentation on theme: "Durban Art Deco Society"— Presentation transcript:
1 Durban Art Deco Society P O Box 3066 DURBAN, South Africa 4000Durban Art DecoDuring the 1930’s a number of flats in Durban were built in the Art Deco style. Externally the buildings were generally finished in stucco and enriched with angular geometric relief.The style drew widely on a variety of symbolism in their adornment, borrowing motifs enriched with Egyptian tombs, sacrificial altars of the Yucatan, stylised Mayan heads, animal, fish and bird forms interspersed the geometric relief decorations. Using contrasting colours, emphasis was put on the play of light and shade upon geometric forms, with strong verticals and contrasting horizontals. Lovely stained or coloured glass windows were used. Corner windows were often of curved glass which is almost impossible to replace today.Building foyers were very special, entrances with wood and heavily bevelled glass doors and stylish door handles all added to the look.This domestic architecture varies from Hollywood Court built in 1937 in the CBD, a fourteen storey skyscraper which offered 1-roomed apartments with a small bathroom only. It is thought this was for immigrant workers from Europe who dined in tea-rooms until they moved on (it has never been changed) to blocks on the Berea overlooking Durban such as Surrey Mansions and Cheviot Court which have 1-and-half bedroom units with kitchen bathroom and living room.Credits to Dennis Claude and Jean PowellSurrey MansionsSurrey Mansions was designed in 1937 by William B Barboure. It is situated on Durban’s Berea commanding favourable views of the city and sea in the distance. This eight storey apartment block consists of various layers of rich detailing and stucco reliefs recalling the intricacies found in Egyptian and Mayan tombs.With two block-like base floors it rises a further five floors with rounded corners and fins resolution in a squared off upper portion. Fluted giant order pilasters rise the full height to a crenellated parapet and the openings and string courses are enriched with detailing of sensitivity and imagination. At high level winged lions proudly survey the scene below.It has recently been repainted in period colours. Surrey Mansions contributes to a collection of fine Art Deco buildings in Durban and is arguably one of the City’s better preserved Art Deco buildings. It is frequently visited and photographed and is as a good example of Sub Tropical Deco. It has also recently been featured in an international television documentary and also provided the backdrop for an Australian cell phone advert.The kitchens and bathrooms at Surrey Mansions are relatively small, and many new owners are remodelling the apartments interiors to create open plan kitchen-living arrangements. Sliding timber screens have also been effectively used in some flats in response Durban’s hot humid summers. The screens allow for much needed natural cross ventilation yet maintain privacy within the apartments.Due to Durban’s humidity, the integration of air-conditioning units is also being considered. Surrey Mansions’ Building Management is in the process of developing a policy in response to this, being mindful of the need to retain the integrity of the beautiful art deco facades, and to prevent random condenser unit installation.Surrey Mansions was designed with flair and is a delight to live in for those who appreciate good design. Through careful and sensitive planning modern interventions into this gracious and distinctive building can further contribute to the celebration of good design, and continue to preserve the proud legacy of fine art deco buildings in Durban.Greg Townsend - ArchitectThe image below is of a recently designed grille-door for Surrey Mansions in the Art Deco style. Apartment owners are encouraged to use designed elements instead of ‘off the shelf’ security grilles and are also encouraged to reinstate front doors in the original style with stained glass fanlights.
2 Hotel D’Urban Cheviot Court Society Activities The recent renovation of the former D’Urban Hotel is welcomed as an Durban Inner City revitatlisation effort. Situated in the heart of the City’s CDB, in close proximity to the City’s harbour, this 6 storey building was a haven of iniquities until it’s recent facelift.The building now runs as a respectable accommodation establishment.Of particular note in this 3-storey building is the well articulated corner with recessed open balconies above a sunburst-patterned front door. The doorway and corners of the building are accentuated by engaged pilasters with alternate brick courses raised for emphasis. The base and parapet of the building is highlighted with stucco mouldings in horizontal bands - the classic Art Deco streamlining device. The building’s elegant and visually effective detailing is further highlighted in paint, drawn from the rich palette of Art Deco colours. Elegantly protruding balconies with scallop-grilles in the brick balustrade back elevation.The 32-roomed establishment is arranged around an internal court which allow natural lighting to all the rooms. The single roomed units are served by communal bath and wash-closet rooms on each floor.Durban has a fine selection of multi-storey residential buildings in the Art Deco style and the renovation of examples like this not only serve to preserve the style, but also rejuvenate the districts the buildings are situated in Nina Saunders – ArchitectCheviot CourtProminently situated on Durban’s Berea, with superb views of city and sea is Cheviot Court, designed in the 1930’s. This domestic architecture block comprises of six storeys, with its streamlined form being reminiscent of the automobiles, trains and ocean liners of the time - heading for exotic destinations. The richness of the layering of the building is further expressed by the projecting horizontal bands which run the entire length of the building.A recent paint renovation has lifted the spirit of the building to that which echoes the vibrant character of the Miami Art Deco style of the 1930’s and 1940’s.Colours such as lime green, contrasted with a fresh blue and a crisp white edging – not to forget the tropical pink – have been carefully used to highlight the design characteristics.The entrance is well proportioned, with classic Art Deco elements forming the design – a strong sense of verticality is evident here, which reflects the influence of the Mayan tombs with their strong verticality always emphasised – as if soaring to the heavens. This is further expressed by the centralised flagpole at the roof line, found at the squared off end of the fluted pilasters which also echo Mayan geometry as they work their way from the base of the building and rise up the symmetrical entrance feature. Mayan geometry can be found within the double entrance doors – with fine timber detailing, beveled glass and intricate door handles, and beyond – on the parquet wooden flooring of the foyer.Inside the apartments have high ceilings and timber floors, with good cross ventilation and plenty of natural light, which speaks of the understanding the architect had with Durban’s climate, especially during the humid summer months. The apartments are classed as ‘one and a half bedroom’, with the exception of a penthouse apartment.There is a semi-circular vertical end bay to the SW side of the building, which serves each floor as a type of curved bay window, offering panoramic coastal views to the lucky residents.Cheviot Court is a fine example of domestic Art Deco Architecture in Durban, reflecting the vibrancy and excitement of the times – at home and abroad.Justin Caramanus – ArchitectSociety ActivitiesDurban Art Deco buildings are painted and maintained at intervals and the building management bodies are awarded plaques in recognition of their efforts by the Durban Art Deco Society. Exhibitions and Martini Evenings are curated and hosted throughout the year and the Durban City Council has also recently curated an Art Deco exhibition, which has further raised awareness about the movement.Jean Powell awards a certificate to Greg Townsend of Surrey Mansions in recognition of the sterling painting refurbishment undertaken.Report on Durban Art Deco Society Activities compiled by Nina Saunders for Jean Powell – President of DADS