VASSA aims to gather relevant information relating to South Africa’s vernacular architectural landscape, and to lodge this in an archival repository for use by interested parties.
This is why we ask you to participate in our Members’ Gallery which could become a hugely valuable resource for everyone interested in ‘things vernacular’. Here’s how: Protocol for submission of photos to VASSA
James Walton was the doyen of vernacular architecture in South Africa. Though he was not a trained architect, his publications are all illustrated with his own inimitable pen-sketches, which VASSA is privileged to be able to use. Click here for VASSA’s James Walton images
Walton’s eleven books and over two hundred papers are all pioneering efforts in their own field, which is the study of truly ‘folk’ and not just ‘historical’ architecture and structures.
They include Homesteads and Villages of South Africa (1952), Water-mills, Windmills and Horse-mills of South Africa (1974), The Josephine Mill and its Owners (1978), Cape Dovecots and Fowl-runs (1985), Double-storeyed, flat-roofed Buildings of the rural Cape (1993). Most appropriately, Walton concluded his vernacular studies by publishing A Tribute to the Donkey.
Stellenbosch University Library
James Walton bequeathed his significant collection for use by researchers. The complete collection consists of manuscripts, drawings, photographs, newsletters, lectures, portfolios, albums, plans, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and brochures. Click here for the James Walton US catalogue
André Pretorius, author, photographer and conservationist, also bequeathed his invaluable private collection. Click here for the Andre Pretorius US catalogue
Look over these sites too
The Vernacular Architecture Society of South Africa – VASSA – on Facebook. Your input is welcome!
The Cape’s Threatened Buildings – a Facebook group started by VASSA member Jim Hislop, to create awareness about how many of the Cape’s historical sites and buildings are being demolished. Chock-full of photos, maps and comments, the group is well worth joining. The goal here is to record as much as possible before it’s gone forever.
Dorp St Doorways, a collection of photos of old Stellenbosch doors, courtesy of Robert Wallace, on Flickr
Historic Cape Town, a set of black-and-white vintage Cape Town photos by John Kramer on Flickr
Highclere Cottage, Blouberg, a set of photos by Jim Hislop documenting this threatened seaside cottage, once the home of Sir Langham Dale – the famous Victorian educationalist
Decopix – The Art Deco Architecture site contains over 700 images, taken during the past 35 years. The photos are organized into galleries by subject matter. It’s really informative with interesting links too