15 Jul REVEL FOX
REFLECTIONS ON THE MAKING OF SPACE
Revel Fox was born in Durban and grew up in harbour towns and cities such as Port Elizabeth, Luderitz and later Cape Town. He went on to study architecture, considering it in part as a ‘soft option’. He completed 18 months of study at UCT before joining the army midway through his second year. He was shipped off to Italy as part of the Papa Britz special service battalion. It was here in Italy during the War that his interest in space, the urban environment and the human condition in built surroundings was sparked. After returning from the War he completed his studies with renewed focus.
With a career that included time in Mozambique and Sweden, he set up practice in Worcester and later moved to Cape Town. One of his important early commissions was the new Deanery in Upper Orange street (1960). He would go on to complete several residential projects, as well as larger buildings such as the UCT School of Ballet (1962, 1964, 1973), UCT faculty of Education (1969) and the BP Centre (1973).
His work reflected both his African heritage and the influences of European styles. He met the challenge of specific problems in the South African context such as the need for mass housing and dealing with urban planning in the post-apartheid era.
His massive contribution to South African architecture and urbanism earned him several prestigious awards, ranging from the South African Institute of Architecure’s Award for his outstanding contribution to architecture in South Africa in 1977. In 1994, he was awarded the South African National Monuments Council’s Gold Medal for his contribution to conservation in South Africa.
Through his teaching, the mentoring of students in his office, and his work in the profession at large, he had a significant influence on the many South African architects practicing today. He has made a definitive mark on 20th Century architecture and his work continues to be relevant to practicing architects and students alike.
According to Fox, Vitruvius’ dictum concerning firmness, commodity and delight is still valid: firmness implies much more than just structural stability, commodity extends well beyond the provision of adequate space, and delight, so often neglected, is the dedicated striving after the grace and beauty that lifts the spirit and gladdens the heart.
Born 20 September 1924; † 13 December 2004
Education 1993: D Arch (Honoris Causa) awarded by the University of Natal, Kwazulu Natal; 1969: Masters in Architecture & Regional Planning, University of Cape Town, Western Cape; 1948: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape
Projects Featured Cape Provincial Administrative Building, Cape Town, Western Cape (1984); UCT Gradute School of Business, Cape Town, Western Cape (1991)