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Werdmuller Centre
Claremont, Cape Town, Western Cape

Roelof Sarel UYTENBOGAARDT: Architect

Client:Old Mutual
Type:Shopping Centre


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33°58'52.60" S 18°27'55.67" E Alt: 35m

Demolition Threat

Invitations have been extended to all registered interested and affected parties to join a Dropbox folder containing the draft Impact Assessment Report in respect of the proposed demolition of the Werdmuller Centre.

Please advise should you not have received an invitation to the Dropbox folder or experience any difficulty retrieving the report. The folder should not be utilised for the posting of any comment(s) in respect of the proposal.

Please note the following, which appeared as an advert in the Cape Times and Die Burger:



Notice is hereby given that a report compiled to meet the requirements of section 38(2) of the Act is to be submitted to Heritage Western Cape (HWC) for a decision in terms of section 38(4) of the Act, in respect of a development, being the proposed demolition of the Werdmuller Centre, located on Erf 54472, Cape Town.

Any person wishing to register an interest in this matter must do so by e-mail to Ashley Lillie or via fax 086 612 7884.

Persons who have already registered and received the report need not register in response to this notice.

Interested and affected parties may view the draft report at the counter of Heritage Western Cape, 3rd floor, Protea Assurance Building, Greenmarket Square, Cape Town during office hours, or by requesting an electronic copy from Ashley Lillie.

Any comments in respect of the report may be submitted in writing to Ashley Lillie via e-mail, fax 086 612 7884 or post to P O Box 109, Cape Town, 8000 by no later than 13 December 2013.

The final report to HWC will include all comments received by the due date. Late comments may not be considered.

Persons who have registered an interest in the matter will in due course be advised of a public meeting to be held, as well as the outcome of the submission to HWC.

The significance of failure
Werdmuller Centre – an artifact of an ephemeral context

Extant: Boarded up while the owner is applying for a demolition permit.

This building like few others is either loved or derided. The design is centred on a ramped spiral. Pedestrians go up the spiral as the basement parking spirals down. Notionally this is a powerful idea but in practise the spiral does not work for retail. The centre has been an abject failure in commercial terms and the spiral that led nowhere being key to this. The stepped floor plates limited the potential for retail parcels to be joined into larger pieces or from being subdivided.

In 2007 the building was slated for demolition. A significant public protest was mobilised by the friends of the Werdmuller Centre and the demolition appeared to be put on hold.

(Mike BELL, September 2012)

Visit the Werdmuller Centre Blog Site.

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.

Writings about this entry

Papanicolaou, Stella, Lahabe, Valerie & Rawoot, Maashitoh . 2021. Modern Architectures : Cape Town. Cape Town: MAGS. pg 25