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CLAUDE, Dennis John

Born: 1933 04 13
Died: 2015 11 08


Reg No: 2120
Year registered: 1961

BArch 1959 (Natal); RIBA 1962

Claude was born in Kimberley. He matriculated from St Andrew's College, Grahamstown in 1950.

Thereafter he went on to study for his BArch at the University of Natal graduating in 1959. He became a member of the SAIA in 1960; of RIBA 1962; Member of the South African Acoustics Institute (SAAI) 1972. SACAP (Reg no 7543).

As a student he worked in London for Ronald Ward and Partners on projects in Nigeria and Ghana and factories in Whitehaven, Cumberland.

He designed and built classroom units at Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital, Nquthu. Through SA Workcamps he was an associate on many multi-racial projects. In the years 1960 until 1961 he worked for Prof P H CONNELL, Durban. With R SEARS he contributed to the University of Natal Jubilee Exhibition "From Our World".

In those same years he was associated with MEANWELL and ANDERSON of Pietermaritzburg, designing Inchanga Juniorate, Inchanga, Natal and the Chapel for St Charles' School.

In 1962 he returned to London where he resided until 1968. In this time he was in the employ of Sir Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners. Here he was project architect for a new College of Education, Brighton, which had teaching accommodation for 1 500 students, 234 in residence and 9 staff houses. He was also project architect, with Sir Stirrat Johnson-Marshall and Sir Andrew Derbyshire, for the University of Cambridge Development Plan of 1966 (now realised as Science Park, Madingly Road). He also designed the Applied Psychology Research Unit at the University of Cambridge. He acted as project architect for Balderton Comprehensive School, Newark, for 1 800 pupils.

In 1969 he returned to Durban, South Africa and until 1974 was in partnership styled LEWCOCK, TEMPLER and CLAUDE. Amongst their projects were the Killie Campbell Library Extensions; the Medical School Development Plan; the Medical School extensions, Laboratories, Lecture theatres, Communal facilities and the Mpala House residential accommodation, all for the University of Natal. Other of their projects were the commercial centre at Silverglen for Mr Ellapa, shops in Reservoir Hills as well as Shops and Flats, Clare Ave for AA Omar and with Brian JOHNSON the Asoka Hotel, Reservoir Hills. Other projects included Ohlange School Development Plan (where Nelson Mandela voted in the first full South African democratic election) and residential designs namely Houses: d'Eath, Moodley, Asmal, Pammenter Zakrzweski.

In this time, 1972-6, he became a part-time tutor in 3rd year design studio of the Durban School of Architecture, University of Natal.

In 1975 he established practice as DJ CLAUDE, ARCHITECT.

In 1977 he became Full-time faculty member at the Durban School of Architecture, University of Natal; promoted to Senior Lecturer from 1986, teaching Theory, Design, Building Construction, Acoustics and History of Architecture until 1994.

In September 1992 he organised and presented land-use seminar with the Ndundulu community in association with Dr Barbara JEKOT and Danish architects Jorn and Anne Orum-Nielsen.

From 1993 until 1997 he formed part of AfA ARCHITECTS CC, where, amongst others, they were responsible for a Health Centre at Ngclolsi, comprising consulting rooms, demonstration area, a pharmacy and staff house.

He formed CLAUDE BAILEY DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE with his daughter Anna BAILEY, and continued to practice on Monaghan Farm, from 2007 until 2015.

Development reports and motivations:
Inanda Civic Association.
The American Board Mission Schools.
Isandlwana and satellite valleys community of the upper Tugela.
Gcwe High School.
Cato Manor Development Association.

In the years, 1994-5 he did training workshops for rural builders in Kwa Zulu-Natal with GHM NORVAL.

Throughout his time as educator from 1975 to 1994 he was involved in "hands-on" projects for students working with local communities in Umlazi, kwa Mashu, Inchanga, Nkwalini, Ndundulu and Mtunzini.

In the years 1997 until 2002, he was again a part time lecturer at the Natal Technikon (later Durban University of Technology [DUT])

In 1999 until 2005 he was appointed part-time lecturer in 1st, 2nd & 3rd Year History of Architecture and 4th Year History of Urban Planning and 2nd year Studio 2004, 2005 - Durban School of Architecture, University of Natal.

He has acted as examiner in Thesis, Building Construction and History of Architecture to various years.

Guest lecturer at
University of the Orange Free State (1979)
Illinois Institute of Technology (1982)
Royal Academy, Copenhagen (1982)
University of the Witwatersrand (1983)
The Victorian Society, London (1988)
Penn State University (1993)
The Santa Fe Institute (1993)
The Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow (1993)
Has given many public lectures to local interest groups over the years, eg Astronomical Societies, Historical Societies, Art Deco Presentations plus contributions to University UCE series.

Public Lecture Series:
For the Unit for Continuing Education at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal: Solo Series.
'The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt.' A four part series, 1996.
'The Several Cities of Durban.' A five part series, 1997.
'Vernacular Architecture in southern Africa.' A four part series, 1998.
'Six of the Best – an Architect’s choice.' A six part series, 2000.
'Egyptian Art, Architecture and Ideas.' A four part series, 2002.

Chairman: EDUCATING THE ARCHITECT International Conference Durban, 2005
Participant and rapporteur; EDUCATING THE ARCHITECT Conference Durban, 2008

Other Activities:
Acoustics Consultancies

Partner with Prof A D BROADHURST in the acoustics consultancy CLAUDE and BROADHURST, designers for the acoustics of, inter alia:
The Playhouse Complex, Durban.
University of Durban-Westville Music School.
University of the Western Cape Assembly halls
Plus numerous smaller consultancies with ADB and:

University of Natal Education Department, Pietermaritzburg. Acoustics design with SMALL, PETIT and ROBSON
University of Natal Medical School. Architect and Acoustics Design
High Court Pietermaritzburg – Acoustics Design with SMALL, PETIT and ROBSON
University of Swaziland: Chapel acoustics.
Ditto – Lecture theatres acoustics – for P SMOOR, architect
Botswana Government Administration Centre, Gaberone. Acoustics design for J YOUNG, Architect.
Durban Music School.
New Recital Studio for MIKULA and WILSON 2010
Conversion of Jubilee Residence Common rooms and Dining Hall into "Opera School and Choral Academy" (OSCA) - Architect and Acoustics design.
Conversion of UNKZN Administration Building into a Music School – Acoustics design for CNN ARCHITECTS.
Multimedia cultural centre, Valley of the Kings, acoustics design for MIKULA and WILSON, ARCHITECTS.
Maris Stella Sports Hall - Acoustics Design – for R HARBER, SHORT and LEES.

1998 – 2009: Deputy Chair on The Durban Art Deco Society
2003: Organised and chaired Art Deco Post 7th World Congress Meeting in Durban, April 2003.
Committee member on the SAIA Architectural Heritage Committee for decades.
1999 – 2007: Member of the KZ-NIA Regional Committee: Education portfolio.
2002-2007: National SAIA Education Committee member.

Water colourist and Architectural photographer.
Collection of +10 000 35mm transparencies recording architectural and environmental topics in Southern Africa, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Turkey, Brazil and the USA.

Custodian of the Barrie BIERMANN Archive
Collection of BE BIERMANN Sketchbooks containing pencil, ink and ballpoint analytical drawings on historical topics.
BE BIERMANN watercolours of about 20.
Typescripts of radio talks and, alas, only a few lectures.

He has been made a lifetime member of the RIBA.

Publications And Conference Papers
He has served on the Editorial Board of KZ-NIA Journal for many years.
Scheepersdal Farm School. Building, no 19.
‘Rural Service Centre, Ndundulu': article in Planning no 99.
Design of Learning Spaces, ed Criticos and Thurlow, UN 1987. Chapter on school planning.
NIA Journal 3/4,1992. Article: 'Art Deco in Durban.'
SA Journal of Art and Architectural History, vol 4 nos 1-4 1994. article: 'The Hidden Architecture of Maputoland' plus drawings to illustrate article by Dr Graeme Hardie in the same Journal.
Article on my Community work by Alan Lipman. In Leading Architecture and Design March 2003
KZ-NIA Journal 2/1995. 'Gumpoles rooted in the sticks.'
KZ-NIA Journal 4/1996. 'Crit of the BAT Centre, Durban.'
KZ-NIA Journal 2/1997. 'Traditional architecture.'
KZ-NIA Journal 2/1998. 'Guide to the buildings and places of Durban.' Joint editor with Prof Walter PETERS and Paul SAUNDERS. Given to delegates at the Arch Africa Conference.
KZ-NIA Journal 2/1999. 'Teaching First year.'
Guest editor KZ-NIA Journal 1/2003 devoted to Durban's Art Deco architecture.
Architecture South Africa, January/February 2008. 'Durban, Oh Durban. The Cities within.'
Three entries in Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, ed Paul Oliver. Cambridge University Press 1998.
'Traditional Architecture of the Tembe.' The Journal of Architecture, London. Autumn 1999 vol 4: no 3: This paper was selected for publication in a collection as one of the best to celebrate ten years of the Journal.
SAAI Conference, UN, 1980. 'Acoustics and the Architect'
SAAI Conference, CSIR Pretoria. 1982. 'Aspects of the acoustic design of the Playhouse Complex' - with Prof A D BROADHURST.
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1988. 'Adobe in southern Africa.'
Arizona State University, Phoenix, 1989. 'Diamond City - The growth of Kimberley. 1870-1914.'
University of Cincinnati, 1993. 'Integrated Design. A new kind of Architecture.'
Architectural Educators Conference, Arniston, 1993. with Dr Barbara JEKOT. 'Society and Architecture in a developing context.'
"Africa 2000" Conference, Cape Town, 1995. 'Symbol and Space in rural Kwa Zulu.'
University of Natal/University of Cambridge Conference, Durban, 1996. with Dr A Adebayo. 'Delivery systems for educational buildings in southern Africa.' also an acoustics demonstration and workshop at the same conference.
Architectural Educator's Symposium, UN Durban, 1997. 'The architecture of the Tembe people.'
Madras Craft Foundation and University of Pennsylvania Seminar on Vernacular and Traditional Architecture. Madras 2001. With Paul MIKULA. 'Ndebele Spaces' – presented by PM.
ICADS 6th World Congress on Art Deco, Tulsa Oklahoma, 2001,'Deco came to Africa.'
Guest editor KZ-NIA Journal 1/2003 Durban's Art Deco Architecture.
ICADS 7th World Congress on Art Deco, 2003 post Congress meeting in Durban, "Durban Deco"
Research and editorial input for Durban Deco brochure; Published by eThekwini Municipality.

Information submitted by William MARTINSON

Dennis Claude died at home after a long battle with cancer 2015 11 08.


A tribute:

My Dad, Dennis John Claude

My Dad

Dad, Den, Dendé, "Dead-Eye" Dennis John Claude has died.

With a long line of architects in my mother's family, architecture runs in my blood, but my dad put it in my soul.

My father's office was my playground – I would spend hours playing with the 1:50 models in the office, using them as dolls' houses, and at home with piles and piles of sticky Lego.

All 3 Claude children grew up in a house full of books on art, architecture, literature, cooking and travel, with artworks both old and new on the walls, Zulu basketry and kilims on the shiny, well-trodden Oregon Pine floorboards, in a music filled house on the Berea with high ceilings and skylights. Our father would hold regular slide shows of his recent travels, taking his audience to ancient Egypt, medieval France or modern Brazil, with us kids giggling in the shadows at the guests who had dozed off.

Religious, ethical and political discussions were the norm. My father's background in the South African Communist Party and his activities in the Struggle brought us into close contact with the so-called 'subversive undercurrents' in the dark days of Apartheid, and allowed us to have a wider outlook than the average white South African. Our parents' values were never swayed by any of the trappings of wealth and materialism. They preferred to invest in broadening our horizons rather than in glitzy coffee tables or shiny cars. During the long academic holidays we were fortunate enough to be transported 2 hours north of sultry Durban to the game reserves, west to the Drakensburg, or south to the beaches of Southbroom or Leisure Bay. Occasionally, we travelled to the UK and to visit family in Denmark. During one year we spent a glorious 6 months' in the North America and Europe, whilst my father took a sabbatical.

Through our parents, we were in the constant orbit of incredible architects: Barrie Biermann, Rob Brusse, Sir Andrew Derbyshire, Richard Dobson, John Ferguson, Rodney Harber, Barbara Jekot, Brian Johnson, Brian Kearney, Ronald Lewcock, Paul Mikula, Anne and Jørn Orum Nielsen, Denise Scott Brown, Ted Tollman, Bob Venturi, to name but a few (and in alphabetical order to avoid bruising any egos).

As a youngster, I spent many an hour running up and down the passages and in the library at the University of Natal, Durban Architecture Department, where my father had an office overlooking the vast, echoing atrium. Dad worked long hours there and at home, planning lectures or buildings, our Siamese cat, Muhle, wrapped around his neck as he leaned over his drawing board long into the night.

My first job at the age of 11 was helping to sort through plans for my father's never-ending Kimberley thesis, at one point having a 'flash-back' to being in one of the buildings, which my father found quite fey, and reminded him of his late mother, who had died when he was only 18. I grew into a testy teenager. Dad and I argued a lot. Once we were having a go-to, my mother burst in, exasperated, begging us to stop, then fled in tears. I ran after her, mid-sentence, to reassure her that "It's all right Mum, we're actually enjoying ourselves!" only to return and finish making my point. We were equally stubborn, Dad and I.

We had many adventures together. Once, we hiked for 5 days in St Lucia, during which time it rained ceaselessly. On the final day, the skies really opened, and bucketed down as we plodded on and on, and we felt we were almost drowning. Laughingly, Dad turned to me and said, "Never mind Annie, it’s character building!" He was the only person in the world who was allowed to call me Annie.

We took a trip through the Great Karoo, to Carnarvon, falling in love over and over again with the gentle-stark light, the compacted dust gardens, and the shapes of the verandah roofs, Dad photographing it all.

During Matric, my father helped me by photographing Madressa Arcade, an enchanting colourful pedestrian side street off Grey Street in the so-called Indian part of town, that lead to a painting which still hangs on my parents' kitchen wall. Soon thereafter came the choice between Fine Art or 'following in Dad's footsteps' and studying Architecture.

Barrie Biermann said, "Why do you want to be an architect? You can paint!"

Dad said, "Be an architect, it’s a good idea."

Paul Mikula said I was mad, but at least he gave me a job in the holidays.

Then Dad said Paul was mad!

After a year traveling, I returned to study Architecture at UND. Dad, who was 1st Year Studio Master, became 2nd Year Studio Master, but still he taught me History of Architecture, and he was bloody good! He asked Barrie to mark my exams, and then thought BB had been far too generous. UND became a bit much, (after someone compared my handwriting with that of my father's) and I left for the UK, where I continued my studies.

Returning in 1994, to vote in SA's first democratic elections, (at the local Scout Hall with my father), I spent a few months working for AfA, my father's new firm with Ambrose Adebayo and Laurence Mkhize. We spent many productive months, working on low cost housing typologies, rural clinics and outreach centres in central Zululand. We visited his tree houses at Bonamanzi, and I remember being covered in baby elephant spittle at 6am feeding time, when one of the young orphaned elephants decided I would make a good plaything. Later, things went a bit pear-shaped. Dad and I did a lot of shouting at each other. Eventually I gave up, and found a job with, you guessed it, Paul Mikula.

Louis Sullivan's quote "MAKE NO SMALL PLANS" was emblazoned on a t-shirt Dad was fond of. At the age of 14, my father introduced me to inimitable, Frank Lloyd Wright, whose Robie House left an indelible mark on my searching brain. Dad didn't much like France or New York, but he loved Chicago and deserts. One year, my brother and I took a trip with our father to Paolo Soleri's seminal "Arcosanti", and (the ultimate), Taliesin West, on the outskirts of Scottsdale, Arizona, which combined Dad's love of free-flowing, unfussy, robust detailing, FLW and deserts. Next we visited Nature's equivalent of a Gothic cathedral, (of which my father was eternally in awe), the Grand Canyon.

About 8 years ago, my father and I decided we had matured enough to try to work together again, as my parents were making the big move from Durban to the Highveld, where my new family was made. We formed a firm and named ourselves, unsurprisingly, Claude Bailey Architecture and Design, and we placed ourselves in a beautiful space called The Study at Monaghan Farm. Drawing on what came naturally to so many architects of my father's generation, my husband and I attempted to establish a 'new' ethos in development and building, embracing eco-friendly principles and techniques appropriate to time and place, but of course this is not new. This is old, and tried, and tested: my father would remind me of the rammed earth he did in the 70's, or the logic of passive solar espoused by Derek Wang, and the alternative building methods of Rodney Harber's UNAHTU and Rene Rayner's BESG. I was constantly reminded of the books by Christopher Alexander, Paul Oliver, Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, and the eternal lessons in seamless sparseness of British and Danish housing design in the mid-to-late-last-century.

We had happy years together working on homes and schools on Monaghan Farm and in Johannesburg, during what would turn out to be Dad's twilight years, despite his intention to live to 100. After all, Frank was still doing some of his best work at 94.

Dad could recite a seemingly endless list of poems learnt off-by-heart as a schoolboy. Not only was he an incredible architect, public speaker, water-colourist and teacher, but he was also an accomplished acoustics consultant, leaving behind an invisible legacy through buildings such as the Playhouse Theatre and the Opera School in Durban. How wonderful it is to be able to 'hear' and experience these voluminous spaces as my father intended, adding another dimension to the buildings.

Dad had an old-school air of great patience, intelligence and dignity, which was almost always reciprocated, and a twinkle in his one eye (the other could never see very well). His sense of humour remained intact until the very end. My father not only left this world a better place, but he also made everyone in his orbit a better person.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, "When one has not had a good father, one must create one." Luckily, I do not have to do that.

Anna Claude Bailey

Click Here to see a copy of the leaflet from the Celebration of his life.

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Chapel for St Charles' School: c1961. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital - Classrooms: 1958. Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Crèche: n.d.. uMbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Farmworkers housing: n.d.. Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Inchanga Juniorate: c1961. Inchanga, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Interpretation Centre and Bunkhouse at the Ian Garland Heritage site: n.d.. Mtunzini, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Methodist Church: n.d.. uMlazi, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Monaghan Farm Staff Housing: 2008. Krugersdorp, Gauteng - Design Architect
Ndundulu Rural Service Centre: n.d.. Ndundulu, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Office building for Natal Oil & Soap products: n.d.. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Roadside Trading Stalls: n.d.. Nseleni, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Scheepersdal Farm School: n.d.. Weenen, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Sri Luxmi Narayan Temple & Hall: 1972. Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
Training Centre at Nansindlela: n.d.. Ingwavuma, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
University of Natal, Edgewood Campus, Lecture theatre complex: n.d.. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect
University of Natal, Opera School and Choral Academy (Conversion of Jubilee Hall Dining & Common Room): 2003. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect

Books citing CLAUDE

Claude, Dennis John. 2015. Faces in the Mirror. Durban: Phansi Publishing. pp 132

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 90, 186

Books by CLAUDE

Claude, Dennis John. 2015. Faces in the Mirror. Durban: Phansi Publishing