Hendrik (Hentie) Louw grew up on a farm in the northwest Cape Province, on the borders of the Bushmanland, Namaqualand and the Hantam. He qualified as an architect at Pretoria University, before leaving for Europe in 1972 to study, travel and practise. He worked in architectural offices in South Africa, Germany and England, mainly on hospital design and housing (including for Carl Jooste and Steyn & Rousseau, Pretoria; Ralph Erskine, The Byker Redevelopment Project, Newcastle upon Tyne), but decided to pursue an academic career instead. He studied architectural history under Bruce Allsopp at Newcastle University (1972-4) and Sir Howard Colvin at Oxford University (1974-6) before settling with his family in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, where he taught design, theory and history at the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape, Newcastle University. His academic career is divided between architectural education and historical research and publication.

Architectural education soon became a vocation to him. In the Department he played an active role over four decades across the whole spectrum, teaching at all levels of the curriculum and in a range of subject areas, from the design studio to academic lecture courses, as well as participating in degree course management and research supervision at postgraduate and undergraduate level. A sponsored public exhibition and national symposium: ‘The post – World War II Achievement : Architecture & Public Art in Britain since 1945’, held in Newcastle in 1994, resulted from a research project conducted with a team of architectural students. He studied the subject’s pedagogy and promoted architectural education in the national and international arena through the Council for National Academic Awards (CNNA) and the RIBA in Britain, and the European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) abroad.

He was a regular participant as chairman, speaker and exhibitor at conferences and workshops on the subject in  the UK as well as on the Continent. He organised the EAAE Forum VIII: ‘Architectural Education in Europe and the Third World’, held in Newcastle in 1983 and served for 12 years, 1984 – 96, on the administrative board of the EAAE, respectively as Secretary, Editor, Vice President and, eventually, President (1993-5).

As an academic historian, specialising in architectural and construction history, he engaged regularly with various academic bodies in Britain and abroad as a speaker, participant, committee member, organiser of events and contributor to academic journals. He served as a member of the executive committee of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (1984-7) . For the SAHGB he organised two of their annual symposia: In 1987: ‘The Relevance of Architectural History’, and in 2001: ‘The Place of Technology in Architectural History.’ The latter was a joint event with the CHS.

Hentie Louw’s research interests span the fields of architectural history, construction history, history of technology and material culture of the post-medieval era in Western Europe and its former colonies. He specialises in historic window design and related industries: woodwork, metal work and glass making; publishing mainly in academic journals. Since retirement he has been concentrating his efforts on completing the two books that will bring all these various interests together: one on the origin, development and global distribution of the sash window; the other, comparing fenestration practices across Western Europe during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Born 10 February 1947
Education 1976: Doctor in Philosophy, Oxford University, UK; 1974: Masters in Philosophy, Newcastle University, UK; 1971: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng