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MUNNIK, Michael Henry Reid

Born: 1930
Died: 2005


Reg No: 1522
Year registered: 1953

BArch (Cape Town)

Mike Munnik will be remembered as a great person, a fine architect and a significant contributor to the architectural profession.

Despite being an architect and citizen of note he was a modest individual, invariably accessible and good-humoured. Those who knew him experienced a sense of lightness and warmth through being in contact with him, of affirmation in being valued and found interesting. While he had a twinkle in his eye and a ready laugh, he also exuded thoughtfulness and depth. He was a person who could be trusted with ideas, with information and with the responsibility to give all things due deliberation. Friends and acquaintances will attest to this, as will those connected to his professional life. The chair of a ratepayers' association was heard to say, no more than a month prior to Michael's death, that a large, environmentally sensitive, awkward development next to Kalk Bay Harbour would never have happened without his calmness and genuine concern for all stakeholders.

As architect and conservationist, and partner in the firm of MUNNIK, VISSER, BLACK AND FISH, his contribution on the professional front was substantial. He was involved in the design and construction of numerous buildings and developments of note, several of which received awards - such as the Library of the University of the Western Cape (with Julian ELLIOT) - ISAA Award of Excellence, the Simonstown Waterfront - ISAA Conservation Award, the Robert Leslie Building at the University of Cape Town - ISAA Award of Merit and the Anglican Cathedral in Gaberone (with Pippa Vincent).

In his profession he served for many years at a provincial and national level, being elected President of the Cape Provincial Institute of Architects (1970-1971) and President-in-Chief of the Institute of South African Architects (1971-1972). One of his major contributions in these roles was the development and adoption of the Architects Act of 1970. He taught at the University of Cape Town and acted as external examiner there and at other institutions. He was also a talented watercolour artist.

In recognition of his contribution as architect and member of the profession, he received the Medal of Distinction of the SAIA in July 2005. His written response to the award was typical of the man: positive, forward-looking and unassuming. As a person and architect he will be greatly missed.

(Julian COOKE)

He was listed as an assistant lecturer in the staff registers of the University of Cape Town from 1960 to 1963.