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OK Bazaars
Cape Town, Western Cape

People:

William Hood GRANT: Architect

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Date:1932
Type:Shops
Status:Extant
Street:Darling/Plein Sts


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33°55'28.26" S 18°25'22.16" E Alt: 26m
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(SAB Jul 1932:43; AB&E Aug 1932:17; AB&E Oct 1933:25,27,28)

Cumming-George 1934:

THIS building, which stands on the old Tivoli site at the corner of Plein and Darling Streets, has the advantage not only of a corner site, but the width of Lower Plein Street and the broad open space of the Parade, from which it may be viewed to advantage. It is occupied by the O.K. Bazaars (Pty.) Ltd.

In design it follows modernistic tendencies, and has a clean-limned austerity until the top storeys are reached, where the decorative precast stone strikes a refreshing and attractive note.

The setting back of the top storey creates some delightful shadow throwing, particularly on the Plein Street elevation, and in this direction there is much to be appreciated in the elaborate play of light and shade.

The simple lines of the parapet wall of the cantilevered balcony, and the soft rounded curve on the corner with the straight hoods which cover the windows on the first floor, are all part of the simple in designing.

There is ample window space, indeed the designer has taken into consideration the demand for wide, uninterrupted window display, and for plenty of light on all floors.

The structure consists of reinforced concrete filled with brick panels between the concrete columns. The floors are of reinforced concrete, and the walls are finished in rough cast to beams and soffits of ceilings.

All external walls have been treated with concrete paint on flutings and mouldings, and with a cement paint on the plain portions. Internal walls are treated with a high texture surface finished in soft yellow shades, the gilt pattern of pillars, concrete beams and ceilings done by stencil marked off by template and combed.

The building rises eight storeys from the basement, of which the O.K. Bazaars use five.

It has three entrances, the double main entrance on the corner of Plein and Darling Streets, one in Darling Street, and one in Plein Street, which entrance is primarily for the offices above. An entrance in Plein Street also admits to the old Tivoli Bar. These entrances are a very striking feature of the building in design and finish, the shaped doors and architraves with black glass base giving distinction to the whole.

Within the building the plan is that of uninterrupted floor space on the ground floor, with wide staircase and escalator rising to1 the first floor. From the first floor the building continues round a well which is sky-lighted at the third floor, the opening on the second floor showing a handsome balcony front in modernistic design.

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

Cumming-George, L. 1934. Architecture in South Africa - Volume Two. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pg 80-81 ill
Rennie, John for CPIA. 1978. The Buildings of Central Cape Town 1978. Volume Two : Catalogue. Cape Town: Cape Provincial Institute of Architects. pg 212 item 66.3

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