Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Overwhelming the Farber Building

A bland glass-plated giant will piggy-back onto a sound example of the Modern Movement in Cape Town

The Farber Building, one of the few extant examples of the Modern movement in architecture in Cape Town, is to be overwhelmed by an eighteen-storey plate-glass skyscraper. The developers had sought to have the 1935 building designed by Roberts & Small demolished, but the city fathers wisely refused permission. The price of its salvation, however, is that the boring skyscraper will piggy-back onto this actually rather inoffensive Modern structure.

What’s worse is that the massing of the new building is completely inappropriate to its site on the corner of Hans Strijdom-laan and Bree Street. As you can see in the final photo, it destroys the existing easy transition of structure heights and overwhelms the neighbouring space — though this will partly be “solved” when the open lot across Bree Street is developed as an equally dull office tower.

Needless to say, painting the clean white Modern building a dark grey is even more lamentable. Crap design and poor planning: Cape Town can do better!

This post was published on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 8:54 pm. It has been categorised under Architecture Cape Town South Africa and been tagged under , , .
Lyndall Murray
24 Jul 2015 1:10 pm

My late father, architect E Douglas Andrews, worked for Roberts and Small in those days.

David Brebner
24 Jul 2015 7:16 pm

My father bought his first vehicle in Cape Town at Faber in 1971, the Renault 4
Brings back many memories with the renault, could fill the tank for about R25.00 before the Suez problem, I think about 6 cents a litre in those days.

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