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DYKSTRA, Pieter Simon

Born: 1884 03 08
Died: 1968 02 26

Architect

SACA:
Reg No: 566
Year registered: 1933


List of Projects

Also spelt DIJKSTRA

Was born and trained as an architect in the Netherlands; after leaving school he spent four years at a special school for architecture and building run by J Krans in Assen, during the holidays he worked in a joinery. From 1903 to 1904 he was apprentice draughtsman in the building firm JH Koekkoek of Baar, this was followed by a year (1905) as apprentice overseeing draughtsman with the architect Y van der Veen in Groningen and a year (1906) working in the office of architect Otto Wasserman of and E Haakshorst in Esse-Roer in Germany. He continued to work in Germany for another year (1907), at the West German Marble and Granite Works in Dortmund. Subsequently DYKSTRA practised on his own account as an architect in Vlissingen in Holland from 1908 until 1927, during which time he was also lecturer in building sciences at the evening school for artisans in Vlissingen. From his work in South Africa it seems that Dudok influenced Dykstra's design approach. Dykstra came to South Africa in 1927. In order to practise as an architect in South Africa he was obliged to take the special qualifying examination which he took in Cape Town, becoming a member of the ISAA in 1933. By this time he had already designed a church building for the Gereformeerde Kerk in Suid-Afrika at Klerksdorp (1927-). The later church at Swartruggens (1933) for the same community, is indicative of his style at that time - with its elegant, frugal gables, compact plan and understated tower.

At some point (n.d.) he settled in Pretoria and designed the first of a number of buildings for the Gereformeerde Church in 1930 (?) in Pretoria East. He also built churches for the Gereformeerde Church at Heidelberg, Transvaal (1950-52), Vanderbijl Park (1951), Welkom (1954-) and Pretoria North (1956) and a small church hall for Van Tilburg, Pretoria (1950 - demolished 1964). The church in Pretoria North was among his last church buildings. In this way his church design consistently looked at simplicity and achieved 'modernity'. He would incorporate elements of traditional styles such as Cape Dutch or Italianate but reduce these references to abstract elements, the plans retaining utilitarian compactness. Together with the firm of GEERS & GEERS, this more streamlined style pioneered a fresh direction for Dutch Reformed Church architecture. According to Gerard MOERDYK, Dykstra played an important role in the development of Dutch Reformed Church architecture in South Africa. It would appear that Dykstra's European training brought church design into the vanguard of modern architecture. His family donated Dykstra's papers, drawings and photographs to the Gereformeerde Kerk Museum in Potchefstroom.

ISAA 1933. (ISAA mem list; Kesting 1978; Pretorius 1969; SAAR Mar 1934:83)

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.