Gawie Fagan grew up with a love of the sea, for sailing and for the Cape architectural heritage. After completing his studies he served from 1952 until 1964 as Resident Architect for (then) Volkskas Bank. He designed 50 new banks during this period with countrywide coverage, which aroused a strong interest in the subtle regional differences. His Cape Town practice, Gabriël Fagan Architects, started in 1964. It has always included conservation and restoration work; often in small country towns. This has developed an intimate understanding of vernacular architecture, so that lessons about sense of belonging, structural integrity, plasticity, proportion and scale were inherently part of his designs without being conscious references.

In 1969 Fagan’s wife, Gwen, a historical researcher and landscape planner, joined his practice. Gwen still works alongside Gawie, researching and designing the landscaped gardens in new buildings and restoration projects. Gawie lectured design on a part – time basis at University of Cape Town from 1970 to 1972, and wrote a monthly column on architecture for Die Burger, a Cape Town daily newspaper, from 1984 to 1987. Apart from co-authoring Church Street in the Land of Waveren,1975 (recording the restoration of Tulbach),

and being the photographer for Gwen Fagan’s book Roses at the Cape of Good Hope in 1988, Gawie’s love for sailing also won him the Trans-Atlantic Cape to Punta del Este yacht race in 1982. He received the South African Sport Merit Award for Navigation in the same year.

Gawie Fagan has received numerous awards for his work. He is a Foundation and Honorary life member of the Vernacular Architectural Sociey; Member of the Architectural Heritage Committee, South African Institute of Architects since 1982; Member of the Council for the Environment; Member of the board of trustees of Cape Town Heritage Trust from 1988; and Life member of the Simon van der Stel Foundation.

He achieved successful results through his concerns with Cape Town’s improvements that led to the establishment of the Victorian and Alfred development; stopping a freeway at Kirstenbosch’s entrance in 1972 and saving Sandy Bay from development in 1969.

Fagan’s work is internationally recognised and numerous articles have been published in journals like Casa da Arbitare, The Architectural Review, AV and others.

Born 25 November 1925
Education 1952: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng
Projects featured House Fagan – Die Es, Cape Town, Western Cape (1965); Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, Western Cape (1969-2001

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Camps Bay, Cape Town, Western Cape | 1965


Cape Town, Western Cape | 1969 - 2001