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CALDERWOOD, Douglas McGavin

Born: 1919 03 29
Died: 2009 06 25


Reg No: 882
Year registered: 1944

DipArch DipTP (Witwatersrand); BArch 1943 (Witwatersrand); MArch 1952 (Witwatersrand); DArch 1954 (Witwatersrand)

An extract from pg 89 of: Kruger, Dr. D F (ed), Wie is Wie in Suid Afrika, Vitae Uitgewers, Johannesburg, 1960. Sent to us by William MARTINSON

"CALDERWOOD, Douglas McGavin, Dr., D. Arch., Dipl. Town Planning (Rand), M.I.A., A.R.I.B.A., A.M.(S.A.)T.P.I., A.M.T.P.I., b. Johannesburg, Tvl., 29.3.1919; s.o. the late D. Y. Calderwood, mine manager New Kleinfontein G.M. Co.

Educated at King Edward VII School, Witwatersrand University, and attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a foreign student’s scholarship. Chief research officer, head of the Architectural Division, National Building Research Institute of S.A. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. President of the Transvaal Provincial Institute of Architects 1957/58.

Married Pauline, d.o. Mr. Paul Pearson, of Port Elizabeth, 1949. Two sons.

Address: 433, Mackenzie Street, Menlo Park, Pretoria."



The iconic former Chair of Building Science at Wits, Prof. Douglas McGavin Calderwood (BArch 1943, MArch 1952, DArch 1954), died of pneumonia on 25 June 2009, aged 90. He was born on 29 March 1919, the son of a Scottish mining engineer. Calderwood was working at the National Building Research Institute when Wits invited him to manage the new building science course in 1967. Frank Wright (BSc 1968) recalls the professor's mandate to make something of a motley bunch of students who were neither architecture fish nor quantity surveying fowl. Calderwood overhauled the curriculum and improved its relevance. It was Prof's subject, industrial organisation and management that was the golden thread of the whole building degree. Rooted in Calderwood's father's mine management techniques, the course stressed the importance of human relations in the building industry. Welfare, incentives, conflict management, even body language, were taught [to emphasise] that people mattered first, says Wright. Calderwood sincerely cared about each of his students. Alumni recall how he delighted in trundling them in a wheelbarrow from the Great Hall after graduation with cardboard signs around their necks; the post-graduation dinners he hosted; that pipe! and the way he said words like "mimi" skirts and "mininim" and wits not vits. In May 2009, alumni hosted a party for Calderwood at Hofmeyr House, likened to a gathering of the chieftains [returning] to pay their respects. He died the following month.

(University of the Witwatersrand website, accessed 2015 03 30)