Feast your eyes on Durban’s Beautiful art deco heritage [photos]

Launched in the years between the two world wars, the world for nearly 100 years was dazzling. As of now, it’s still an inspiration for all.

Art Deco’s name derives from the Paris ExhibitionInternationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Moderernes held in 1925. According to Kznia-Journal, the inception of Art Deco was strongly influenced by the rapid changes in hot societal culture that predominated the jazz-age and also even the roaring 20’s that accompanied WW1.

Characteristics of Art Deco include animal themes and organic, repetitive geometric patterns, sunbursts, sensuous the debut of decorative themes that are local and colors.

What people probably don’t know is that Durban was referred to as the Art Deco Capital of South Africa because of the Art Deco buildings that are currently standing tall throughout the city.

According to the Durban Art Eco Society, the city has several nice examples of  this important style, mostly built between 1930 and 1940.

1. Surrey Mansions — 323 Currie Road —  Langton & Barboure/William B Barboure

This construction is said to be among the greatest Art Deco buildings. Surrey Mansions features floor and first floors, rounded corners and fluted order pilasters climbing up the entire height. A genuine colour scheme that changes depending on the day’s lighting is also accentuated by the construction.

2.  Cheviot Court — Musgrave Road & Poynton Place

Cheviot Court is a a maintained six-story apartment block with flagpole and crest motifs in the 1940’s. According to Anne Roselt, Worldwide Colour Manager in Kansai Paints, it’s  a nice example of how colour can improve a building, showcasing the depth and adding value.

3. Victoria Mansions — 124 Margaret Mncadi Avenue — Nelson Secombe

Victoria Mansions underlines  some exquisite   animal and marine features.

The former house of Merchant Navey Cadets. The house is a national monument.

5. Broadwindsor — 7 Dr Yusf Dado Road —  Hirst 1935 & WC Moffastt

In regards to this construction, powerful pilasters guide up the eye to such famous flying birds to get a stunning finale to the composition.

6.  Berea Court — 399 Berea Road

The building contains a lot of geometric stucco (fine plaster) lions and detailing heads mounted on a geometric base-plates in the buildings’ crown. An amusing assortment of glass and direct windows may still be found at some of the entrances.

7. Enterprise Building — 47 Samora Machel Street — AA Ritchie McKinley 1931

This is a traditional Art Deco Building, with abstract and geometric animal figures. The  apartment construction features   griffons plus zig-zag types with Mayan type heads and a superb eagle over the entry.

8.  Pixley House — 398 Dr Pixley Kaseme Street

Considered to be one of Durban’s best examples of Art Deco architecture. The building has just been renovated and consists of 115 residential components.

9.  Memorial Tower Building UKZN

The construction of Howard College in the University of KwaZulu Natal was built to commemorate pupils who perished in both world wars and a Thomas Davis who died at the age of 21 in WW1.

10. The Cenotaph — Albert Luthuli Square

The Cenotaph in Albert Luthuli Square has been brought on by an architectural competition in 1921. It was published in 1926 when Pilkington, Cape Town firm and McQueen won. The Durban War Memorial commemorates people who incorporates the Rolls of all of the two world wars and gave their lives. In terms of the artwork, the sculpture takes focus to a warrior being transported to heaven in the arms of 2 angels.

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