BArch 1977 (Pretoria) - Final design title: Openbare Takbiblioteek vir Sunnyside
Jake was born in Pretoria and grew up in the suburb of Menlo Park. He completed his studies in architecture at the University of Pretoria in 1976 and practised, for a while, as an architect. He then left the profession and ventured into editing for a number of years finally returning to architecture by securing a teaching post in the Town Planning department of the, then, Cape Technikon. He later moved to the Department of Architectural Technology becoming Head of Department around 1997. During the late 2000s he steered the difficult merger of two departments of architectural technology in Cape Town with professional aplomb.
He was instrumental in fostering the role and registration status of architectural technologists in South Africa through new BTech courses, developed together with people like Julian Cooke. For many years he served on the Validation Committee of the South African Council for the Architectural Profession as well as many validation body visits to architectural learning sites across the country.
In addition to these academic roles, Jake was a passionate heritage practitioner that assisted in vetting building proposals for the Municipality of Cape Town and, in his private capacity, acted as a heritage practitioner in the Western Cape. He was also an accomplished artist, producing many architectural "impressions" of proposed buildings in the days before the advent of computer renderings.
Jake's professional and highly critical approaches to academia and practice were well balanced with his sense of humour, compassion and humility. The legacy of his unrewarded contribution to architectural education will live on as a fitting testament to his commitment and passion for the discipline. He will be sorely missed.
(Arthur BARKER, December 2015)
Read a tribute to Jake de Villiers by the Association of Professional Heritage Practitioners.