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St Katharines School
Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Rodney Wilfred Thomas (Rod) LLOYD: Architect

Date:1919 : 1973-2015


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26°10'38.85" S 28°01'39.52" E Alt: 1722m

St Katharines School has been an ongoing commission starting in 1973.

St Katharines school is located in suburban Parktown Johannesburg on three erven, being 1.3 acres (0.5 hectare), Founded in 1916. The main building, now offices and Media Centre, dates from 1919 and its historic value is now under Heritage control as a Place of Historic interest. This heritage value was not recognized in the 1960's. When we were appointed as architect in 1973 to review the master-planning despite a 1950's master-plan requiring its demolition, we advised, retention of the old building, and this was accepted. The white-wall and clay tile roof materials, the style and detail, and the scale would be applied in design of all future buildings.

In 1976 the Hall was the first new, formal building to be erected, in as yet unformulated plan to expand the school and facilities. This open-ended position, prompted application of Hans Scharoun's concept of a basic circulation framework or spine, as a "village street". Each 'part' expresses its own scale and function, while cohesion is retained at any given period, mainly through consistency in detail.

Planning and construction was complicated by the steeply sloping site to the south, the very small area available for building, and large rock outcrops. Space had to be made for play, tennis and swimming facilities In 2009, the whole design culminated in the original building being totally re-designed as a Media Centre on two floors inserted within the original envelope, but with the facade retained.

The final stage in 2015 has been the restoration and Additions to the old Lamprecht House. This was designed by John MOFFAT in 1920 and is protected as a Building of Historic Interest. The two additional classrooms form a small Senior School within the campus. Care was taken in preserving the Kopje behind.

(Rod Lloyd)

Writings about this entry

Images Publishing Group. 1991. Architects of South Africa (International profile series). Melbourne, Australia: Images Pub. Group. pg 65