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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.


Writings about this entry

Wegelin, Hans. 1994Glazed clay block screen : Netherlands Bank – Durban 1965. Architecture SA in 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 Pretoria: Unpublished MArch thesis, University of Pretoria.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