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HOETS, John George Douglas

Born: 1880 07 25
Died: ?

Architect


Year registered: 1929

The rich neo-renaissance exterior of New Zealand House, Burg St, Cape Town (1926) arouses curiosity about Hoet's background and his career. Not a great deal is yet known about Hoets's early work. He was born in Plumstead, Cape Town but nothing is yet known about his education nor training. He was generally known as Douglas Hoets and practised in Cape Town from about 1904 until 1935. He was first listed as working in Cape Town in 1904 in partnership with ? LE SUEUR, the partnership seeming to have come to an end about 1905 (cf LE SUEUR & HOETS). In 1905 and 1906 Hoets collaborated with AF WEBB on competition designs for the Standard Bank, Johannesburg, the Bloemfontein Law Courts and Museum, in which competitions they were quite successful, gaining third premium in the competition for the Standard Bank competition, third in the Law Courts competition and second in the Museum competition (cf HOETS & WEBB). Hoets won the competition for the Salt River School (c1906), sharing the competition with another. After 1906 Hoets probably practised on his own account; the entry in the South African Who's Who (1908) states that he had designed and carried out 'upward of forty residences in the Cape Colony.' Hoets was living in Pretoria from about 1910 until at least 1917; his Licentiate nomination papers (1912) were 'BRADFORD, PWD, Pretoria', suggesting he was working in the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in Pretoria perhaps even from 1910. He was in Pretoria when he entered for the Johanesburg City Hall competition (1910), in which he was placed third. He was certainly employed by the Public Works Department in Pretoria in 1913/1914. In about 1913 Hoets was successful in winning the competition for a new Government House to be built on the site of Westbrook, Cape Town, the project was abandoned, Westbrook instead being enlarged. Hoets and J RALSTON collaborated on a submission for the competition for Pretoria Town Hall in 1926, PEARSE commenting that their design was an interesting scheme 'with a plan reminiscent of Vanbrugh's work' (SAAR Jun 1926:37). Hoets preferred an Italianate style, designing his own house at Rondebosch, Cape Town as early as 1905 in this style; he also designed New Zealand House (1926) borrowing heavily from a variety of Italian Renaissance motifs. In 1933 he designed another house for himself. By 1938, however, his style had changed. The Architect, Builder and Engineer noted the 'startling modernity of Bane's Motor showroom block' (AB&E Jul 1938:18), and the periodical South African Architect seems to have been equally impressed by the contemporary style of the hallway of a house designed by Hoets in about 1939 where there were 'black, grey and gold dominating tones - pillars in grey black flecked with gold, stairs in black magnesite ... an impression of a carpet is given by grey-black of risers' (SA Archt Oct 1939:248). His son John Orpen HOETS (1912-1972) became an architect and practised in Cape Town. By 1944 Douglas Hoets was living at Lanzerac, Stellenbosch.

LRIBA 1912; ISAA 1929. (AB&E Feb 1919:2; ISAA mem list; LRIBA nom papers (1912); Minutes of the Mayor Dec 1910:30; PWD ar 1913; RIBA Kal 1913/14; SA Archt Oct 1939; SAWW 1908; UTD 1915, 1917

Submitted and entry for the Competition for the new Prime Minister's Residence - unplaced.

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.

Books citing HOETS

CPIA Committee. 1983. The Buildings of Cape Town 1983 : Phase Two. Volume Three : Catalogue and Classification. Cape Town: Cape Provincial Institute of Architects. pp

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pp 375

Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pp 40