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Reid Bros Building
Johannesburg, Gauteng

George Esselmont Gordon LEITH: Architect

Date:1921
Type:Offices
Status:Demolished
Street:Harrison/Main Sts

(SAB Aug 1924:13; UWA: R1)

Cumming George 1933

A SUGGESTION of the Early Renaissance is manifest in the charming facade of this building, the plan and elevation of which, we understand, were correlated on a module of 10 ft. (3.05 m) and employed throughout as a basis of proportion.

The ground floor, which has been designed as the local head offices of the owners, has a side entrance, the vestibule of which is barrel-vaulted, and communicating directly to a handsome staircase-vestibule.

Here we have a simply-conceived scheme in plaster, brick and tiles, with white Karibi marble treads and risers and a dado of blue Herara.

The floors of the offices above are planned to give a maximum of light and ventilation, with mezzanine lavatories, cleverly concealed at the end of a rear courtyard.

Externally, the proportion of cornice to base, with the uninterrupted wall surface of red facings between, create the impression of quiet refinement.

In the rusticated lower storey, the semi-circular recessed openings have been emphasised by purpose-made steel windows and specially designed brass spindle balusters and furniture.

Surmounting the facade is a well-detailed and delightful cornice, casting a deep and pleasing shadow over the top-storey windows, the heads of which merge into the architrave of the building and made the task of providing something monumental in character a more difficult one than usual. By the introduction of the two main contreforts, upon which figures of Eclesia and Historia appear, the structure is fortified and the spirit of the Voortrekkers suitably expressed in the building.

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. 1933. Architecture in South Africa - Volume One. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pg 39