Art Deco in Durban

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Durban, South Africa has a notable amount of buildings built in the Art Deco style popularised in the USA in the 1930s.[1] Durban-style Art Deco buildings share the characteristic bold colours, geometric shapes and glamorous ornamentals of the global style, while incorporating local narratives and motifs.[2]

The styling of Art Deco buildings in Durban reflects the different backgrounds of the city's population.[3] Some buildings, such as Quadrant House on the Victoria Embankment, emphasise the city's maritime background. Other buildings, such as Ebrahim Court and the Essop Moosa Building, are built in a style reflecting the interests of Durban's Muslim traders in the 1930s.[3] Some of the buildings pay allegiance to Durban's long association with the British Empire, such as Empire Court and Dominion Court.

Notable Examples[edit]

Some notable examples of the Art Deco style in Durban:[3]

  • Berea Court (Berea Road West, Berea)
  • Colonial Mutual Building (West Street, Durban Central)
  • Memorial Tower Building (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus)
  • Surrey Mansions (Currie Road, Berea)
  • Kintyre (Clark Road, Glenwood)
  • Jubilee Court (Clarence Road, Morningside)

The cenotaph in the central square outside the City Hall is another striking Art Deco construction.

Preservation of Buildings[edit]

Due to a number of factors including inner city urban decay, a number of Art Deco style buildings are presently in a state of disrepair.[4]

The Durban Art Deco Society was founded in 2000 in order to raise awareness of the value of Art Deco buildings to the city's architectural heritage.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Home". Durban Art Deco Society. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  2. ^ "Durban – the Art Deco Capital of South Africa - TravelGround Blog". Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  3. ^ a b c "Durban – the Art Deco Capital of South Africa - TravelGround Blog". Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  4. ^ "About | Neil Coppen". Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  5. ^ "About | Neil Coppen". Retrieved 2016-10-14. 

External links[edit]