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Kell-Ann Heights
Germiston, Gauteng

Dimitri Peter CHRISTELIS: Architect

Date:c1965
Type:Flats with shops to street
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
26°13'04.92" S 28°09'58.91" E Alt: 1660m

Kell-Ann Heights is a fine Regional Modernist building in Germiston designed in the early 1960's by local architect Dimitri Christelis for his client Peter and Alfred Christelis. Peter and Alfred were twins and jointly owned a successful sweet factory in Germiston. The building name is a conflation of their wives’ names: Kell and Ann. Construction was completed in 1963.

The building is a substantially scaled, eight-storey Apartment building and occupies a prominent site on the corner of President St and Oosthuizen St with retail space fronting both street edges and commercial premises at First floor.

The planning of the building created four separate multi-storey apartment wings arranged around the outer periphery of the site. The main pedestrian entrance into the Apartment block faces onto Oosthuizen Street and is demarcated by a cantilevered concrete canopy with a rectilinear 'corrugated' edge, supported on two circular columns, each clad in mosaic.

The entrance foyer has beautiful 1960’s geometric relief work patterns on the walls within the double volume space. A finely designed staircase with wooden balustrade and an intricate steel railing pattern create a flowing movement. The post boxes are a special feature in an aesthetic wooden shape, resembling a piece of modernist furniture. It appears to be floating or suspended in the space as it is hardly touching the ceiling and floor.

Provision for on-site parking was made at the rear of the site with the lower floors of the southern and western wings of the building set aside for parking garages.

The most significant and dramatic feature of the building is the substantial pair of splayed columns - each set of columns with four separate, angled columns rising out of the pavement to support the over-sailing apartment block above. Each column twists over the height of the shaft - from splayed base up to an orthogonal face at the connection into the underside of building.

The eastern face of the over-sailing apartments forms a structural ‘shear’ wall. The entire face is clad with purpose made pre-cast concrete relief panels providing an interesting 3-D sculptured surface.

The north facing apartments onto President Street have generous balconies, the front balustrade walls of which are also clad in similar pre-cast concrete relief panels. The floors of these balconies are connected to one another with a narrow front beam forming an opening adjacent to each balcony and thereby creating dynamic 'columns' of open space rising up the facade.

The penthouse apartments on this elevation have a dramatic horizontal 'folded' concrete sunscreen with forward projecting upper vertices which provides a dramatic zig-zag edge to the building.

A decorative feature introduced by the architect are the alternating sloping beam faces to the commercial frontages - which alternating rhythm is reinterpreted on the south facade with a series of applied crosses onto the beams and columns - the transverse bars of the crosses have a matching upper and lower slope.

Compiled and submitted by William Martinson with input from Micha Hannemann (November 2019)

These notes were last edited on 2019 11 14