University of Pretoria, Women's Residence – ‘Asterhof’
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The relationship between single sex institutions and maintaining “traditional” elements has always been a point of interest, especially considering my educational background at an All girls high school. Most of these institutions were established before the modernist period which may justify the choice of architectural style however many of these establishments are either new but still choose the classical, Cape Dutch or Neo-Romanesque.
Asterhof is one of the University of Pretoria’s oldest female residences. This residence was founded in 1926 in Prospect street. The students used to stay in the Vergeet My Nie building. This building has classical and cape dutch elements. Vergeet My Nie has since been converted to an admin building as housing students was causing it to become dilapidated at a faster rate than could be renovated.
The newer Asterhof residence was designed by Christiaan Strauss Brink who was also a lecturer at the University’s Architecture department and the building was completed in 1957. This building became a point of interest as it does not follow the anticipated architectural style that is usually adopted by single sex institutions or residences, this building is a seven storey structure with a modernist approach. Forever Yours differs from Vergeet my Nie because it seems more simplistic as it is a rectangular, flat roofed structure that maintains the vertical and horizontal lines through equally spaced window placement, the building does not have any decorative elements and the windows have steel louvres that are painted bright blue which still allows the building to give a contemporary look instead of the wooden window shutters as seen in the Vergeet My Nie building.
Having these buildings next to each other is a good display of the evolution of architecture within South Africa and on a global scale, these buildings show how all of these architectural styles have a place in the world as we see it as long as there is great execution.
(Siphosihle Gwavu, July 2021)
These notes were last edited on 2021 07 15