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Pretoria Academic Hospital, Administration
Pretoria, Gauteng

John Stockwin CLELAND: Architect

Style:Union Style


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25°43'57.63" S 28°12'05.95" E Alt: 1326m

This building is the first and, at the time, largest of the provision of state hospitals by the Union government, and was thus a prototype and example of what these might be. Many were to follow. The hospital was to be of service to the entire community, irrespective of race, creed or class. This ideal was later usurped by the apartheid policy.

This is a fine example of the architecture of the Department of Public Works when the provision of public buildings was done in-house. The sketch design was done by CLELAND, John Stockwin (23 Feb 1879 21 May 1950) as Architect in Chief of the Public Works Department for the Union of South Africa.

The design and development of the hospital bear testimony to him and the architects and draughtman of the time. It serves as a clear example of the state of the art in terms of the provision of medical facilities of the time, as well as being a fine example of the building technology and craftsmanship at that period termed Union or PWD Style. Cleland, as Architect in Chief of the Public Works Department, was caught up in the attempt to develop a South African style. Clearly the Italianate features introduced by other architects of the period, such as Herbert BAKER formed a point of departure, with courtyard ventilation. Cape Dutch Revival style elements abound, and there is use of red brick, plastered and colonnaded facades, generous detailing in superior materials such as teak doors and windows and terracotta tiling. Cleland shared Baker’s interest in appropriate (and South African) furnishings for government buildings and is a supreme example of the style of the so-called Baker School.

Without doubt this as an example of public architecture of the 1920s and 1930s has a distinguishable character and style that had, for the public, the added advantage of being recognisably public.

It demonstrates attitudes to planning and administrative organisation relative to the provision and running of medical institutions of the time.

The hospital became, in 1943, an Afrikaans language teaching hospital for The University of Pretoria, with the registration of 294 students.

With the construction of the new Pretoria Academic Hospital it has become the Tshwane Medical Facility.

The hospital has associations for many and diverse communities.

[Roger Charles FISHER.]