15 Jul JACK BARNETT
BUILDING THE BEST – THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA’S ESSENTIAL MISSION
Jack Judah Barnett received the Helen Gardner Scholarship on completion of his architectural studies at the University of Cape Town. His first employment was at the offices of Harrison and Abramowitz in New York, USA. He also worked for Kantorowich and Hope for whom he won the first of many competitions throughout his career; in this case the Harrismith High School. Winning the Herbert Baker Scholarship in 1949 entitled him to residency at the British School in Rome. While in Europe he attended the Berlin Youth Festival in East Berlin.
In 1952 he married Naomi Shapiro in Tel Aviv. Jack worked as resident architect for the SA Jewish Appeal on the new town of Ashkelon in southern Israel. Between 1955 and 1957 he was appointed Studio Master at the University of Cape Town School Of Architecture. He won the Welkom Civic Centre competition in
association with Kantorowich and Skacel in 1955. Other successful competitions that he took part in was for the Klerksdorp Civic Centre, the Roggebaai Fountain (during which time he was detained in terms of the state of emergency due to his Communist leanings), the Cape Provincial Administration Offices and Library in Kimberley and the New Municipal Offices in Pietermaritzburg.
He was awarded the Gold Medal by the SA Institute of Architects in 1982. He dwelled on the fact that architectural competitions presented him (under a regime that was not favourably disposed towards his well known Communist leanings) with an opportunity to compete purely on grounds of merit for design projects. One of his firm convictions was (to quote from his Sophia Gray lecture): “Architects are the custodians of a vital tradition and although
they may build for a specific client, in the cultural sense, they build for all.”
Born 7 December 1924; † 29 July 1996
Education 1946: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape
Projects featured Welkom Civic Centre, Welkom, Free State (1955); Baxter Theatre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape (1968)