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Netherlands Bank Building - Nedbank
Central, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Norman Musgrave EATON: Architect

Date:1961 - 1965
Type:Bank
Style:Modern
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
29°51'34.89" S 31°01'26.98" E Alt: 5m

'... a Fabergé of a building, a completely personal conception, painstakingly and beautifully developed by one of the finest architects this country has produced' (Greig: 1971, 114) "Eaton's most complete, most perfect design" and "one of the most charming modern buildings in the world". (Lord Holford in Greig, 1971: 116)

This building replaced the Club Arcade and two columns and a section of the mosaic paving were preserved as a memory of that building.

Some time ago someone took it upon themselves to start demolishing the screen, luckily because of public outcry the demolition was stopped - but how to repair?

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Nedbank’s former Durban head office is widely regarded as a masterpiece and celebrated South African architect Norman Eaton’s finest building. The cube-like structure is raised above Anton Lembede Street on an un-honed travertine podium, accommodating both urban fountains and greenery. Glazed curtain walls enclosing the central banking hall are shielded from the elements by an iconic grass-green ceramic filigree screen, an homage to Eaton’s obsession with beautifully crafted and uniquely designed building elements. The structure’s large, flat roof boasts a garden with sweeping city views. Now restored, the garden houses specially commissioned sculptures and 2 400 plant species, including quinine trees, indigenous grasses, and aloes.

Source: Mod squad: Six marvellous South African buildings to know about by Brian McKechnie in Business Day, 14 September 2020.

These notes were last edited on 2020 10 13


Writings about this entry

Wegelin, Hans. 1994. Glazed clay block screen : Netherlands Bank – Durban 1965. Architecture SA May/June
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 114 & 116, 115 (ill.)
Pienaar, Marguerite. 2013. Norman Eaton Legacy, The : a critical architectural appraisal of the documentation of his domestic oeuvre. Pretoria: Unpublished MArch thesis, University of Pretoria. pg 193