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Born: 1927
Died: 1995 10 01


Reg No: 1493
Year registered: 1953

TPIA (1953); ISAA (1953); ARIBA.

BArch (Witwatersrand); [unidentified degree] (Witwatersrand); [Unidentified degree} (Yale).

SWAAN was architect, photographer and art historian, prominent in hospital and medical science architecture, and known for his many books of architectural photography and art history

Born in South Africa, Swaan earned two degrees in architecture at Wits University and then worked in Johannesburg.

In 1959 he was recorded as resident at 'Dunrobin', 44 Joel Road, Berea, Johannesburg, member of the TIA, in the employ of Harold H LE ROITH & Partners of Washington house 68a Commissioner Street, Johannesburg.

Thereafter he studied at Yale University and later became a citizen of the USA in 1968.

Chipkin (2008:379) reminisces on those who influenced him:

There was a third category of architects like Wim SWAAN and Maurice KAPLAN (a neighbour of Wibo ZWART) who were seduced not only by Brazil but by the pictorial qualities of indigenous homesteads, as re-discovered by Barrie BIERMANN and Betty SPENCE in their seminal portrayal of Ndebele architecture in the Architectural Review (1954), ...

SWAAN enjoyed distinguished dual careers, designing many important medical facilities and had 18 books published on the subject of art and architecture, for which he took the photographs.

In 1994 SWAAN retired from the firm of Architecture For Health Science and Commerce (AHSC, a leader in architecture for medical facilities and laboratories) in Tarrytown, New York, where he was a senior vice-president and director of design. He was known for creating aesthetic solutions in spatial proportions, particularly in public areas, and for designing facades that overcame constrictions and awkward structural formations.

He died at the age of 68 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

[adapted from an obituary by Orman, Alan. Wim Swaan (1927-1995) in SA Architect, Nov/Dec, 1995. p. 6.]

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.

Books citing SWAAN

Chipkin, Clive M. 1993. Johannesburg Style - Architecture & Society 1880s - 1960s. Cape Town: David Phillip. pp 175, 236, 237

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 97, 191