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BRONKHORST, Wouter De Wet (Wollie)

Born: 1901 10 07
Died: 1970 08 05

Architect

SACA:
Reg No: 355
Year registered: 1927

CPIA; ISAA (1927).

BRONKHORST witnessed papers for associate membership of the RIBA for David Francois Hugo NAUDÉ in 1934.

On 1923 09 08 Bronkhorst started, in his own words, as ’n rou Karoo seun (a rustic Karoo boy), an apprenticeship in the Paarl office of the first Afrikaans language architect, Wynand LOUW, recommended there by one Reverent J van der Merwe of the NG municipality of Laingsburg, confirmed in Wynand LOUW's dairies, where he records that W Bronkhorst started at his office "as 'n leerling" (as a learner/apprentice). There he served as project architect for at least two Nederduits Gereformeerde churches designed by LOUW & LOUW, Upington North and Velddrif.

After Louw's death in 1967, Bronkhorst wrote: "In those days there were no facilities at the universities to qualify as an architect. But as the only Afrikaans architect in the country, Mr. Louw had a surprisingly large and flourishing practice, and with the experience I gained over the course of a number of years, no young beginner could fail. Church buildings, public buildings and residential buildings kept the staff so busy that a fast pace had always to be maintained.” At that time, HL BRINK, who had been educated in the Netherlands and had a thorough knowledge of the building industry, was LOUW's right hand in practice. After Bronkhorst worked a year there, AL (Attie) MEIRING, later professor of architecture at the University of Pretoria, and Hugo (Walla) NAUDÉ joined the firm. As a result a new approach and spirit emerged in the office. After they left to form MEIRING and NAUDÉ, Henri LOUW, Wynand LOUW's youngest brother, joined the firm after his studies to be an architect in London. Henri LOUW immediately went to Bloemfontein where he opened a branch office as his brother's partner in a firm styled LOUW and LOUW. Bronkhorst left with him for the Orange Free State, where he began years of engagement with Henri LOUW, an association that would last until 1957. In Bloemfontein another brother of Wynand Louw, George LOUW, was also in the employ of the firm. At the turn of the 1930s Henri Louw moved to Cape Town to open a branch office and Bronkhorst again joined him there.

In 1959 he is recorded as working in the Sanlam Building, Wale Street, Central Cape Town. In 1964-65 he was responsible for extensive renovations to the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk in Piketberg, Western Cape. In 1969 he is recorded as working in the Homes Trust Building, Wale Street, central Cape Town.

It would appear that Bronkhorst never retired, since the cornerstone of his last work ‘Onse Rust-huis’, a retirement home at Fraserburg, was laid just over three months before his death.

For further information see Wikipedia. (Submitted by Morné van Rooyen)

Books citing BRONKHORST

ISAA. 1959. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1958-1959 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1958-1959. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 88, 206

ISAA. 1969. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1968-1969 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1968-1969. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 90, 156