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List of Projects

McDONALD, Donald Calvert

Born: 1905 09 06
Died: 1978 07


Reg No: 260
Year registered: 1927

(Dip AA (Lon).

NIA (1927); ISAA (1927); ARIBA (1931).

Pres NIA 1939; Vice-Pres NIA 1937, 1938, 1940; NPIA Council 1936-; Mem standing committee of architectural education and examination in South Africa; Hon Fellowship Faculty of Engineering, Natal University 1970).

'Father of the Durban School of Architecture' (Kearney 1985). McDonald was born in Durban, Natal, and was educated at Mansfield High School in Durban, he trained as an architect at the Natal Technical College from 1921 and was articled to ING & JACKSON from 1923 until 1929; he also attended evening classes at Natal Technical College. He went to London in 1929 and attended the Architectural Association (April 1929-Jan 1931), and worked in the office of EGW Souster, London, in the summer of 1929. He toured Europe with fellow students at the Architectural Association in 1930, visiting Sweden, Denmark, Northern Germany and Holland. As holder of the Henry Jervis Scholarship from the RIBA, he made a further trip to Europe later in the year visiting Northern and Southern Germany and Austria. He received his diploma from the Architectural Association in June 1930 and passed the RIBA examination in 1931.

He returned to Durban in 1931, setting up practice on his own account, revisiting Sweden in 1932. When courses in architecture were first offered by the Natal University College in 1933, he became the principal lecturer, he was effective head of the School from that time until the establishment of a Chair in 1949.

McDonald's first large commission appears to have been the design of the Point Yacht Club, Durban (1934), it is modern in concept with expanses of white plastered wall and glass. The Christmas Stamp TB Preventorium, Roberts Road, Pietermaritzburg (1935) is another example of his work but has suffered from alteration. He entered into partnership with RG STEAD c1938/9 (cf. McDONALD & STEAD) and after the war (from c1950) was in partnership with AR STRACHAN (b.1920) (cf D CALVERT McDONALD & STRACHAN). According to the tribute paid to 'Mr Mac', as McDonald was known by many (The School of Architecture, Natal 1949-1970), his tendency in architecture in the 1930s was towards 'emotional expression' (romantic) as against 'cerebral rationalisation' (classicist) and influencing his work was the work of Dudok, Oud, Gropius, Aalto and Mendelsohn.

His services to the Profession were recognised by his election as President of the Natal Provincial Institute in 1939, and to the cause of Architectural Education, by the presentation of an illuminated address from the Institute in 1964.

Twenty-one years after the establishment of the Chair in Architecture, to which he contributed more than any other, the University of Natal honours him in the awarding one of the first three Honorary Fellowships to be made in the Faculty of Engineering.

Further buildings executed by McDonald (no dates) were offices and warehouses Vaughan & Co in Durban, Schweppes Works at Mobeni and a factory and warehouse for John Dickinson, Jacobs. Durban-Westville University, much of which was executed by McDonald & Strachan, was officially opened in 1973 (SA Panorama August 1973). McDonald designed numerous houses in Pietermaritzburg, particularly in Scottsville off Ridge Road. He was responsible for the design of a number of buildings on the University of Natal Pietermaritzburg campus.

A week before he died McDonald deposited some of his records with the School of Architecture, Natal.

(Arch & Bldr May 1957:69, port, notes; ARIBA nom papers (1931) 4676; Greig 1971; Hillebrand 1986; ISAA mem list; Kearney 1985; SAAR Dec 1930:128; SAAR Jul 1932:173-9; SA Archt Oct 1940:260, 261 port; Sch of Arch, Ntl (1949-1970), port; Strachan 1990)

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

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Christmas Stamp TB Preventorium: 1935 : 1939. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Dunlop Factory: 1935. Congella, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Project Architect
Durban & Dist Co-op Soc Bldg: 1937. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Durban & Dist Co-op warehouse: 1937. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
House C Hart: 1938. Durban North, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
House E Hunter: 1937. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
House Mrs H Storm, alt: 1936. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
House Mrs IC McDonald: 1937. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
House SAM Grainger: Tyndale, alt: 1939. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Natal University College, Library and Fine Arts Block: 1936. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Natal University College, School of Commerce: 1936. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Point Yacht Club: 1934. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Rexo Manufact Co Factory: 1935. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
SABC Studios: n.d.. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
School of Architecture, Natal: 1935. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
St Agnes Church: 1937. Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Thos Barlow & Sons warehouse and offices: n.d.. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
W Daly Mineral works: 1935. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Warehouse for Seligson & Clare: 1936. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect

Books citing McDONALD

Brown, SM. 1969. Architects and others: an annotated list of people of South African interest appearing in the RIBA Journal 1880-1925. Johannesburg: Unpublished dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand. pp

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 110

Hillebrand, Melanie. 1986. Art and architecture in Natal, 1910-1940. Pietermaritzburg: Unpublished Ph.D. Dept Fine Art and History of Art, University of Natal. pp ??

ISAA. 1959. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1958-1959 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1958-1959. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 94, 221

ISAA. 1969. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1968-1969 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1968-1969. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 97, 181

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp M11-12