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List of Projects


Established: 1912


This partnership between NT COWIN and EM POWERS in Pretoria from 1912 was first listed in 1913. The partnership was formed on winning the competition for the central fire station in Bosman Street, Pretoria in 1912, probably in collaboration with JS CLELAND (cf NT COWIN). The partners came second in the competition for the Boksburg Town Hall (1912), and won the competition limited to Transvaal Architects for the Dutch Reformed Church at Greylingstad in the same year, a competition adjudicated by Herbert BAKER. The simple English Gothic Revival style of the building was described as being 'a distinct departure from the style of hitherto adopted by the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa' (Afr Archt Jul 1914:1). It is reminiscent of Baker's own churches. Cowin & Powers were invited to enter the limited competition for the Standard Bank Building, Eloff Street in Johannesburg in 1918; their entry was illustrated in Building (Mar 1918:147 ff) but did not gain an award. In 1919 they won the competition for the South African Party Club with a simple, solid classical design, characteristic of the period. In 1920 they were placed second in the competition for the 'Johannesburg University Building' (the Main Building, University of the Witwatersrand). Murray (1982:105) states that the partners, having 'entered an objection to the assessment ... were appointed joint architects with Mr Frank Emley'. According to the same source, Pearse was to describe this arrangement later as 'a most unfortunate decision' (Murray 1982:105) and it was a decision criticised at the time.

The Roll of Honour for the Association of Transvaal Architects was designed by Cowin & Powers in 1920. In 1921, TG ELLIS joined the firm, the style of the firm becoming COWIN, POWERS & ELLIS.

(Afr Archt Apr 1912: v ill; Brown 1969; Building Dec 1918:217/218, 223-233; Building Mar 1920; Building Sep 1920:394; Building Sep 1926:304-05; Lockhead's guide 1913; Picton-Seymour 1977:131; UTD 1918)

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

Carnegie Library: 1911. Moorreesburg, Western Cape - Architect
Carnegie Library: 1914. Potchefstroom, North West - Architect
Central Fire Station: 1912. Central, Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Drury & Co bldg: 1919. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Fire Brigade Station: 1912. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1913. Greylingstad, Mpumalanga - Architect
SA Party Club: 1919. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
University of the Witwatersrand, Chemistry and Physics block: 1919. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
University of the Witwatersrand, Medical School, proposed: 1919. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing COWIN and POWERS

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 156

van der Waal, Gerhard-Mark. 1987. From Mining Camp to Metropolis - The buildings of Johannesburg 1886-1940. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pp 187, 198