DipArch 1934 (Cape Town); DipTP 1945 (Witwatersrand); ARIBA 1934
As a child went under mother's second married name of Fischer.
Was born in Salisbury (Harare), Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and educated at Ellerton, Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town and St George's Public School, Bulawayo. At the latter school he became totally deaf as a result of scarlet fever contracted in 1918. His secondary education took place at Springhill private school, Northampton, England. He spent several school vacations in Denmark with relatives. He was a notable cricketer and represented Northants County Club and Ground at cricket. While at school he went under his mother's second married name of Fischer, which was Danish, reverting to his own name in 1932. He returned to Africa to study architecture, completing the diploma course in Architecture at the University of Cape Town (1928-1934). During this period he spent almost two years (twenty-three months) in the office of James MORRIS. The subject for his thesis at the University of Cape Town was an Institute for Cancer Research; this thesis was reported by the Faculty to be the best they had ever handled. After graduating he joined the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, Pretoria for a year (1934-1935), first under WB Turner NEWHAM (whom Shillington remembers being told had been in BAKER's office) and then under Erwin FLEISCHMANN, who had studied at Stuttgart under Paul Bonatz, and whom, Shillington remembers, was then a follower of the modern school. In September 1935 he joined FK KENDALL in Cape Town as an assistant with the right to private practice which meant that he was working within the partnership on some of his own projects (cf KENDALL & SHILLINGTON). In 1938 he left Kendall's office to open his own practice in Southern Life Building in St George's St. This practice closed down in 1941 when Shillington joined the Department of Fortifications & Coastal Works to assist the war effort as a civilian architect under Colonel Craig, Chief Harbour Engineer, on the outbreak of the Second World War. From 1944 to 1945 he attended the University of the Witwatersrand, completing a two-year postgraduate course in Town Planning. After the war, which had a destructive effect on careers on the whole, Shillington resumed private practice in Cape Town. His pre-1940 work shows Shillington's readiness to address design problems, using modern materials and the modern aesthetic to create buildings which were exceptional in Cape Town. Herbert points to House Wag(e)ner (1936) as 'probably the first house in the modern manner with some architectural quality' in Cape Town (Herbert 1975:154), also pointing out that by being illustrated in the South African Architectural Record it became 'the first modern building outside the Transvaal to be accorded this honour'. In a further note Herbert adds a comment made by Professor Pryce LEWIS concerning the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on Shillington 'Shillington fell under the very strong influence of Wright and altered a house at the bottom of Hof St using such devices as the lintol concealed in the roof space to obtain the wide eaves floating above glass (leaded)' (Herbert 1975:262). In 1959 his address was 65, Mowbray Road, Greenside Extension, Johannesburg.
(A&B Nov 1965:27, Personalities; Shillington 1985,
1986 pers com; ISAA mem list; SAAR May 1936:170)
All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.