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House Lange
East London, Eastern Cape

Barry Gunther Helpherus LANGE: Design Architect

Client:Barry LANGE
Street:Cr Irvine Road and Willasdale Drive

A modernist house by Barry LANGE for himself - while a partner at OSMOND LANGE.

Photographs taken in May 2011 by kind favour of the current owners: Mr and Mrs Parkin.

The following is an article published in the SA Architectural Record, Volume 42, Johannesburg, April 1957.



The architect has designed a home for himself which is not only a demonstration of his own architectural thinking but also an extraordinarily interesting concept of house design.

It will be of interest to architects both by reason of its design and unconventional structural basis, and has indeed evoked quite a stir among the local inhabitants.

It is built on a steeply sloping site on the bank of the Nahoon River and commands a magnificent view over the river valley to the north. The approach and entrance is from the road on the south.

The plan is organized about the 10-ft (3,05m). modular spacing of reinforced concrete frames. These frames are 4 ½ in. (114mm) thick and the columns are 14 in. (355mm) wide. All the exposed concrete work is cast on hardboard shuttering, waterproofed where necessary, and left unplastered. These frames carry a flat boarded roof on purlins covered with 5-ply waterproofing and drained with a central box-gutter. The floor is a reinforced concrete slab covered with asphalt tiles with ¾ - in. (19mm) quandrant as skirting. All walls, which are separated from columns and beams by a softboard insertion, are fairface brickwork, painted. The ceilings are of softboard. The fire place formed in concrete carries a copper hood and a circular flue painted red. Doors to the bedrooms are sliding, the lounge and dining space are separated by “Modernfold” doors, and all the swing doors have closers fitted. The glass louvres in the panels between the columns have rubber chanelling. The fixed louvres are of 1 – in. (25mm) asbestos. All electrical fittings have their switches on the fittings. The dining table runs on tracks and may be moved through the fitting separating the dining room and kitchen, so that the table may be laid and cleared in the kitchen. The colour scheme is generally white, red and blue. The architect reported considerable difficulty with all trades in working accurately to the module.

Here is a article from Port Elizabeth Evening Post Saturday, May 4th, 1957.

            "The glass home of Mr. Barry Lange and Mrs. Lange overlooking the Nahoon River is a tourist attraction in East London.

            The design is unconventional and even revolutionary.

            One wall of every room is glass from ceiling to floor. There are no skirting boards, picture rails or flooring boards. Floors are tiled.

            The walls are not even plastered but the rough brick is covered with colours of every conceivable hue.

            Mr. Lange, who built the house a few months ago, claims that the glass walls give a greater sense of "volume" and each room "flows" into the next.

            Mr. Lange and his wife are getting used to visitors viewing their home on Sundays and public holidays."

Sent to us by William MARTINSON.

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.