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Beaux-Arts

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In South Africa Beaux-Arts approach, where the architectural response was stylistically Neo-Classical and the planning formal and axially symmetrical, can be considered the over-riding influence on all projects of civic scale done before the 1930s when the rise of the Modern Movement supplanted it. After Union of 1910 Herbert BAKER, under the sway of Edwin LUTYENS, transliterates this into the Grand Manner as it reflects in the design of the Union Buildings, and became known as the Imperial Style internationally or Union Style in South Africa.

The curriculum of schools of architecture in South Africa was greatly influenced by the educational approach of the French École des Beaux-Arts which concentrated on a chronological history of civilisations in the encyclopaedic manner of Bannister-Fletcher, an ability to reproduce the monuments of these accurately and render them meticulously in pencil, ink and water colour. Also requisite was the documentation through measured drawing the architectural legacy of the ancients through a Grand Tour. Herbert BAKER introduced and donated funds towards a Rome Scholarship to this end. In the 1930s PEARSE took his students on a Cape tour from the Witwatersrand where the students mimicked the Grand Tour and made meticulous drawings of Cape Dutch homesteads, fixtures furnishings and furniture, to be published as enduring Africana, namely Eighteenth Century Architecture at the Cape (1933) and Eighteenth Century Furniture at the Cape (1966).

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