• Datum Antique: Biermann and Theron's Crasulla Duplex Apartments

Architects: Biermann and Theron Architects  
Location: Durban, KwaZulu Natal,  South Africa
Interior Décor: Biermann and Theron Architects
Project Year: 1967
Photographer: KZNIA

KwaZulu Natal Institute of architects calls it the ” most provocative building of the decade”, an fluid  recipe  of well anticipated cuboids and forms that marry each other like they have been in love for years. This is the Crasulla Duplex apartments, an ego boost to the Durban skyline in the 1960s where Biermann and Theron stacked and stepped units in both plan and section.

 

This was part of the conservatism wave that the 20th century brought into Durban, a new wave of economic boom that was a filtration system for the wealth that came in form the World War II ending and a new found flamboyance for mid century modern architecture championed by Izzy Benjamin of Benjamin and Crofton Architects, one that he almost entirely championed. This was a wave that echoed all across the world and it was only a matter of time before the crest fell on Durban.

Consequently we see here a building that fully embraced the international mantra of modernism, almost unapologetic, entirely unashamed. It took Biermann and Theron a headache milestone to achieve the planning and form compilation of such a building, one that steps in a total 3 dimensional aspect. This was an age of the drafting table and such was the fete.

It is perhaps only fair to speak on the merits of the metaphor, the spirit of the will and desire for ambiance and showy architecture in this project, showy in that is expressed the total capabilities of the architect in excellent spatial creation and street aura. This is an environment that not only envelops the inhabitants but also cajoles the street eye and drew it in into a holistic form that is almost too much to experience all at once. 

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