House Stockelbach - Ridgewood
Gertruida Hendrika BRINKMAN (née SIEMERINK): Design Architect
The house, known as "Ridgewood", was designed for the then managing director of Ford Motor Company, Mr A F Stocklebach, and is arguably the finest house in the International Style in Port Elizabeth. The elevations are said to show influences from the work of the International architect, Erich Mendelsohn. Perhaps most notably in the use of the curved form of the first floor window, which relates to that used in Mendelsohn's Einstein Tower in Potsdam, Germany.
The house is planed over 3 floors with the top floor providing access to a roof terrace which catches the breeze on hot days and affords views over the Baarkens valley to the south. The living accommodation was on the ground floor with the main rooms leading off a tight entrance hall. There is an elevated enclosed porch (due to the fall of the site) to the East off the dining room and a loggia to the west accessed from the living room. An elegant Art Deco stair leads to the first floor bedrooms and bathroom.
It was one of very few houses of the period in Port Elizabeth to include a true flat roof, as opposed to a mono pitch roof concealed behind a parapet, which was the most common detail during this period.
The house remained in private ownership and unaltered until the mid-1990s when it was sold and converted into the Ron Belling Art Gallery. On the positive side it is good that the building has been saved and is being well maintained but it is sad that much has been lost in the extension and modifications. The Galley is open to the public.
Danish born Axel Stocklebach was the first managing director of Ford Motor Company SA which opened in Port Elizabeth in 1923.
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.