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VON BERG, Wilfred Clement

Born: 1894 10 21
Died: 1978 07 07


Reg No: 552
Year registered: 1932

FRIBA (1934)

Was born in Croydon, Surrey, England and was articled to Withers & Meredith. He studied at the Architectural Association in London from 1912 under Robert Atkinson. During the First World War he served as a captain in the London Rifle Brigade, winning the Military Cross. After the War, in 1919, he was appointed an Assistant Architect to the Imperial War Graves Commission and designed more than thirty-nine war cemeteries, among them Bedford House at Ypres, Etretat, Sains-les-Marquion and Ypres Town, Reginald Blomfield being the supervising architect. Von Berg left the War Graves Commission in November 1919 but remained in France, practising at St Raphael where he he designed several villas. He worked for the architect H Goodhart-Rendel on his French estate and designed the Golf Club House at Valescure, a bank for Barque King and the Chateau Gloria at Cap Ferrat, all in the South of France. In 1931 Von Berg came to South Africa, settling in the booming East Rand area of the Transvaal. He was first employed by Gordon LEITH for six months, he may have met Leith while working for the War Graves Commission, and set up independent practice about 1932. One of his first jobs was Perry's Stores in Benoni which was praised by Cumming-George (1934:65) as an 'outstanding example of modern architecture'. He designed a number of houses, hotels and flats in the pre-war boom. He joined the South African Engineers on the outbreak of the Second World War, in charge of their camouflage unit in the Western Desert and in Italy. He returned to South Africa after the war and resumed practice in the Transvaal. In 1959 he is recorded as of address 902 Maritime House, Loveday Street, Johannesburg. Before 1969 he was joined by FS HALFORD who was based in Durban (cf VON BERG & HALFORD). He retired in 1975 and resigned from the ISAA in 1977.

Wilfred Clement von Berg died on 7 July 1978, was cremated and his ashes taken. (Record from Braamfontein Cemetery Cremation Register, submitted by Sarah Welham via William MARTINSON)

(FRIBA nom papers (3232) 1934; ISAA mem list)

See his entry on Wikipedia.

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

Cosmo Club, supervising archt: pre-1934. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Country Club: pre-1934. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Supervising architect
Dawson's Hotel: c1935. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Dove's Undertakers: 1933. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
French Club: pre-1934. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Project Architect
Hospital: 1939. Sabie, Mpumalanga - Architect
Hotel: 1939. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
House Charles - Standon: 1935. Houghton, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Perry's Stores: 1933. Benoni, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing VON BERG

Cumming-George, L. 1934. Architecture in South Africa - Volume Two. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pp 40, 65

Geurst, Jeroen. 2010. Cemeteries of the Great War by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Rotterdam: 010. pp 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 90, 93, 190, 200, 216, 230, 245, 272, 274, 381, 402, 412, 430, 432

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 99, 192

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 103, 136

SAWW & Ken Donaldson (Pty) Ltd. 1958. South African Who's Who 1958 : An illustrated biographical sketch book of South Africans with separate sections for the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and South West Africa. Johannesburg: Ken Donaldson (Pty) Ltd. pp 616

Stamp, Gavin. 1977. Silent Cities : An Exhibition of the Memorial and Cemetery Architecture of the Great War. London: Royal Institute of British Architects. pp 26