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Dunkeld Mansions
Johannesburg, Gauteng

Harold Hersch (Harry) LE ROITH: Architect

Date:1939
Type:Flats
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
-26.135587,28.047463
26°08'08.11" S 28°02'50.86" E

An elegant block of flats which broke away from the heavy-handed "Riviera" and Germanic approach which, before the Second World War, was considered suitable for housing rich people who wanted to live in flats. In spite of later alterations which spoilt the roof-line, it is possible to see what it was about this CORBUSIER-inspired building that earned LE ROITH something of an international reputation.

(Greig 1971:148)

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Dunkeld Mansions is another block of luxury flats in a park-like setting in one of Johannesburg's outlying suburbs. Only portion of the original design has been carried out, the plans providing for further extensions to bring the scheme to a unified whole. The building is constructed of a conventional reinforced concrete frame with briclc panel walls and is planned in two wings, articulated about the staircase-lift unit.

There are six floors, including the ground floor, which contains an enclosed parking garage. Further garaging is provided in the rear of the site. The entrance hall is approached from the south and contains the lift hall and the stairs. The staircase is an interesting feature of the design in that the case is a free-standing vertical accent, in which the verticality is emphasised by the continuous fenestration. extending the full height, clear of stair landings and forming an emphatic contrast to the horizontal character of the rest of the structure.

Both the south-east and north-east wing consists of three-room flats, each with a living room, dining-room, two bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom with separate shower and W.C. compartments. On the fifth floor, however, the plan varies to provide two-room flats in the former and two-room and bachelor flats in the latter. On the roof is located the servants' quarters, and, on the north-east wing, a tea-lounge and kitchen adjoining a solarium, with a squash court with change-room attached.

The interiors include a variety of colour schemes in pastel shades : parquet flooring with rubber in kitchens and bathrooms, and non-skid tiles in corridors. Marbled panelling, parquet floor and teak stairs are included in the entrance hall. Railings are dove grey and the rough textured walls are in dark brown, lemon yellow and meridian. Walls are plastered, with rubble contrasts at the entrance, and glass panelling to balconies which, with the other features, impart a Continental character to the whole composition.

(South African Architectural Record, August 1946. pg 197-198)


Writings about this entry

Chipkin, Clive M. 1993. Johannesburg Style - Architecture & Society 1880s - 1960s. Cape Town: David Phillip. pg 174, 177 ill
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 148
Herbert, Gilbert. 1975. Martienssen & the international style: The modern movement in South African architecture. Cape Town - Rotterdam: AA Balkema. pg 231
van der Waal, Gerhard-Mark. 1987. From Mining Camp to Metropolis - The buildings of Johannesburg 1886-1940. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pg 225, 226 ill