‘Form follows function’ is the Modernist motto, most houses from this period exhibit strong lines, free of clutter and unnecessary frills. These South African Midcentury homes, designed by top architects, are perfect examples of this fashionable movement.
This modernist villa in Emmarentia, built in 1949, has the flat roof, ribbon windows and curved façade typical of the era – in this case left beautifully intact. It’s a fine example of the modernist, flat-roofed white boxes that began springing up around Johannesburg in the mid 20th century.
This house, built on Joburg’s Linksfield Ridge in the late 1950s for gallery owner and influential printmaker Egon Guenther, was designed by Donald Turgel, a South African architect with a modern sensibility, who was influenced by his travels in North Africa, giving modernism an African flavour.
House Du Toit
This modernist gem in the Paarl winelands in the Western Cape was designed in the 1970s by Pius Pahl, a German architect who studied at the legendary Bauhaus school under Mies van der Rohe, and later settled in South Africa.
This Houghton house, designed in the 1940s by Douglas Cowin, one of the leading lights of midcentury modernist architecture in South Africa, who tempered his modernism with regional and climatically appropriate features, was recently restored by architect Enrico Daffonchio.
This circular modernist home, a landmark in Pretoria, was designed in 1961 by German-born architect May von Langenau. Its barrel-like form is different from the usual straight lines of the modernist era, but it’s geometry and ‘stilts’ are typical of modernist experimentation.