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HOFMAN, Paulus Johannes Cornelius

Born: 1867 08 08
Died: 1926 10 05

Supervisor : Contractor : Architect

Year registered: 1912

Sometimes spelt HOFFMAN.

Born at Hoge en Lage Zwaluwe, Netherlands to Adriaan Hofman (labourer) and Cornelia Wilhelmina van Ryckevorsel. In 1867 his father with his family relocated to Rotterdam. By 1869 they were back in Zwaluwe for a brief period before again in 1872 relocating to Rotterdam. In 1887 he was exempted from military conscription, for reasons of being the sole son of his father. In 1891 11 18 he married Jannetje van der Poppe (1870-1943) in Rotterdam, his profession recorded as 'opzichter' (building supervisor).

He and his wife arrived in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek in Johannesburg as a Building contractor in 1896. He was appointed in January 1897 as Supervisor under WIERDA in ZAR DPW. Hofman, although not formally trained, also practised as an architect in Pretoria. In 1897 his son Adriaan Paulus was born in Johannesburg. By 1899 during the Anglo-Boer War he must have left the ZAR for Cape Town where his second son Jan Arie HOFMAN was born in 1899 soon after the outbreak of the War. There the family must have left for the Netherlands for the duration of the war, as by 1900 he is recorded as living in Rotterdam, the Netherlands [Factual information researched and supplied by M Kuipers (2021 06 15)].

Hofman returned to the now Transvaal Colony in 1903 where he must have sworn allegiance to the British Crown. He is recorded as being part of the team of draughtsman working at the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT with Leo GEERS on the Union Buildings under supervision of Hendrik SIEMERINK, then Acting Assistant Engineer for the Pretoria District (Clarke, 2021:75). From there he moved down to the Cape Colony in the employ of the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS of the CAPE COLONY in Oudtshoorn where he established a minor Trade School.

After leaving the PWD he set up a very industrious office, using his knowledge of the then novel building material, concrete, to his advantage. In Knysna Hofman advertised his skills in the local newspapers. The Eclectic Wilhelmiens styling of his Cape projects leaves no doubt as to his Republican origins.

By 1912 Hofman appears to be back in the Transvaal where he was elected a Licentiate member of the RIBA in 1912. He was heir to Anthony DE WITT's meagre estate on De Witt's death in 1916, this comprising mainly books. In 1918 Hofman was placed 16th in the Benoni Town Hall competition. From 1919 to 1920 he was a member of the Pretoria Practice Committee of the Transvaal Institute of Architects. He had entered partnership with his son JA HOFMAN, the partnership lasting until his death in 1926. (cf HOFMAN & HOFMAN). Hofman died in the Weskoppies Mental Hospital, recorded at the time as of the address 179 Hamilton Street, Arcadia, Pretoria.

(Building Mar 1918:130-36; Building Jun 1918:164; Building Dec 1918:223-33; Building Mar 1919:255; RIBA Jnl 1927-28:60; UTD 1915, 1917)

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

Grendon House: 1904. Knysna, Western Cape - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1911. Joubertina, Eastern Cape - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1904-1905. Knysna, Western Cape - Architect
Solvang House: 1905. Knysna, Western Cape - Architect
Town Hall: 1909. Knysna, Western Cape - Architect

Books citing HOFMAN

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

Clarke, Nicholas J, Fisher, Roger C. 2021. Common Ground : Dutch-South African Architectural Exchanges 1902-1961. The Netherlands: LM Publishers. pp 75

Hopkins, HC. 1957. Gedenkboek by die Goue Jubileum van die Ned. Geref. Kerk Joubertina. Elsiesrivier: Joubertina Gemeente. pp 29

Ploeger, Jan & De Kock, Gideon de V. 1989. Nederlandse emigrasie na Suid-Afrika 1800-1900. Port Elizabeth: University of Port Elizabeth. pp 97