Architecture, State Modernism and Cultural Nationalism in the Apartheid Capital  book cover
1st Edition

Architecture, State Modernism and Cultural Nationalism in the Apartheid Capital

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ISBN 9780367519445
April 7, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
232 Pages 91 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book is the first comprehensive investigation of the architecture of the apartheid state in the period of rapid economic growth and political repression from 1957 to 1966 when buildings took on an ideological role that was never remote from the increasingly dominant administrative, legislative and policing mechanisms of the regime. It considers how this process reflected the usurpation of a regional modernism and looks to contribute to wider discourses on international postwar modernism in architecture.

Buildings in Pretoria that came to embody ambitions of the apartheid State for industrialisation and progress serve as case studies. These were widely acclaimed projects that embodied for apartheid officials the pursuit of modernisation but carried latent apprehensions of Afrikaners about their growing economic prospects and cultural estrangement in Africa. It is a less known and marginal story due to the dearth of material and documents buried in archives and untranslated documents. Many of the documents, drawings and photographs in the book are unpublished and include classified material and photographs from National Nuclear Research Centre, negatives of 1960s from Pretoria News, and documents and pamphlets from Afrikaner Broederbond archives. State architecture became the most iconic public manifestation of an evolving expression of white cultural identity as a new generation of architects in Pretoria took up the challenge of finding form to their prospects and beliefs. It was an opportunistic faith in Afrikaners who urgently needed to entrench their vulnerable and contested position on the African continent. The shift from provincial town to apartheid capital was swift and relentless. Little was left to stand in the way of the ambitions and aim of the state as people were uprooted and forcibly relocated, structures torn down, and block upon block of administration towers and slabs erected across Pretoria.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in architectural history as well as those with an interest in postcolonial studies, political science and social anthropology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "South Africa Builds …"

Strains of Postwar Modernism

Afrikaner Cultural Nationalism

"Others" and "Ourselves"

1. Apartheid Ideology and Architectural Form: State Building in Pretoria

Transformation of the Afrikaner in the City

Asymmetrical Monumentality

"Emergence of the Spirit"

Kunsmuseum in Arcadia Park

2. Atomic Research Centre

Language of Science and Redemption

Atomic Architecture

Technocratic Monumentalism

Modernism on the Highveld

3. Volkseie: Afrikaners and the University of Pretoria

National Retrieval of the Past

Loyal Dissent

"On the Forefront of Development"

Building Sciences

4. Emerging Traditions: The Vernacular in "Separate Development"

Vernacular Architectural Science

The Southerner’s Approach to the Modern

Preservation of Cultures

"Native Dormitory Suburbs"

Forced Removals

5. Norman Eaton’s Glass Cabinet: Wachthuis

Curiosity for Things African

Another Europe

"Can We Develop a Distinct South African Style in Architecture?"

Displacement: South African Police Headquarters

6. Hubris: Isolated Edifices, State Apparatuses and a Depleted Vision

Afrikaner Capitalism

New Vernacular of the Curtain Wall

Munitoria: Municipal Administration

"Mighty Monolith"

Conclusion: Architecture for Ourselves

Narratives of Difference

The Chosen and the Unchosen

Epitaph for a Square



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Hilton Judin is architect and director of postgraduate architecture in School of Architecture & Planning at Wits University. He has developed a number of exhibitions, including display of apartheid state documents and public video testimonies [setting apart] with History Workshop in Johannesburg and District Six Museum in Cape Town. He was curator and editor (with Ivan Vladislavić) of blank____ Architecture, apartheid and after for the Netherlands Architecture Institute. He was in practice with Nina Cohen on Nelson Mandela Museum in Mvezo and Qunu, and Living Landscape Project in Clanwilliam. He edited the volume Falling Monuments, Reluctant Ruins: Persistence of the Past in the Architecture of Apartheid. He is working on the Political Evolution of Community Building, and with History Workshop on the conference and anthology In Whose Place? Confronting the Vestiges of the Colonial Landscape in Africa. He continues with compilation of an Anatomy of Apartheid.