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House Martienssen
Greenside, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Rex Distin MARTIENSSEN: Architect
Date:1939
Client:Self
Type:Homestead
Status:Extant
Street:53 Cruden Bay Rd

MARTIENSSEN’s own house in Greenside is a seminal work which has become a symbol and exemplar of the shifts and changes of the introduction and adaptation of the modern movement in South Africa. Early drawings of the house show the clear influences of Le Corbusier and the compositional influences of Leger. The final design, in its first version, is still in that idiom. The house as built, however, retains the spatial and volumetric relationships but there are significant deviations - a rich stirface modulation and variety of materials, framing of the facade and its articulation as a two-dimensional surface - which all contribute to an almost classical repose.

The references are many: Renaissance frontality, Terragni (with whom MARTIENSSEN was corresponding at the time), Kandinsky, Hilion, Nicholson and Leger.

(Ivor Prinsloo in UIA, 1985: 59)

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.


Writings about this entry

Beck, Haig (Editor). 1985. UIA International Architect : Southern Africa (Issue 8). London: International Architect. pg 59
Herbert, Gilbert. 1975. Martienssen & the international style: The modern movement in South African architecture. Cape Town - Rotterdam: AA Balkema. pg 220-225
Various A Biographical history: in Beck, Haig (Editor). 1985. UIA International Architect : Southern Africa (Issue 8): pp 59