Architecture Fabrik

Architecture Fabrik

Social Housing

Heritage Impact

Completed in 1936, this building is listed on the Heritage Register, Level Grade 3. 

City Building or otherwise know as Oldham House is of the International Style, Art Moderne. The horizontality is marked by the flat roof, smooth wall finish, the continuous hood at the head of the fenestration on both floors, and the band of windows in steel frames following the curvature of each of the two cylinders. A rarity in Durban.

Ear-marked for Social Housing, substantial delays have lead to the deterioration and informal and illegal re-use of the building. Architecture Fabrik has been appointed to undertake the heritage application for the development of subsidised rental accommodation (Social Housing) on the site. With the current state of damage of the building, the focus has been on retaining the curved entrance and a portion of the double storey wings only.

In order to  formulate a vision and the objectives for reconstruction, the status quo plays a part in the decision making process. Endemic crime, drugs and prostitution are present in this area, perpetuated by the current state of this building. While financial feasibility shouldn’t be the driving force of a heritage plan, one must balance the opportunity for city renewal and transformation to improve the social wellbeing of those living and working in the area.


KZN, South Africa
Calvert McDonald
Ebrahim Kazee