Hidden Pretoria

Johan Swart

Hidden Pretoria presents some of the architectural gems to be found in South Africa's capital. Sixteen key sites have been carefully chosen to convey the richness and diversity of the city's built heritage.
Date Published :
March 2020
Publisher :
Penguin Random House South Africa
Contributor(s) :
Alain Proust
Illustration :
200 photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781432304652
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 10.2 X 9.8 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Despite being South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria has often played a supporting role to bold and brash Johannesburg and Cape Town’s cosmopolitan charms. However, when it comes to architectural heritage, the ‘Jacaranda City’ is well-endowed. From the skyline-dominating Union Buildings and Voortrekker Monument, to the imposing edifices that make up its administrative precincts, Pretoria might almost be deserving of a second moniker: the city of sandstone, brick and granite.

But when you look beyond the impressive façades, soaring columns and linear planes of buildings that were intended to convey power and authority, you’ll find light-filled interiors embellished with decorative touches that are only hinted at from the pavement. Murals, mosaics, domes, galleries, stained glass windows, gleaming brass and impressive woodwork are often hidden from view behind doors that are closed to the public. Even those museums, buildings and places of worship that are open to all have architectural and design features that are easily overlooked unless they’ve been pointed out.

The history of the city and, often, the country too, has been played out in many of the places featured in Hidden Pretoria. This story of our shared heritage deserves to be captured for a new generation so that they recognize the value in the built environment and the need to preserve the past in order to protect the future.

About The Author

Johan Swart holds a professional degree in architecture and a second master’s degree in heritage studies. He is a full-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria, where he teaches architectural history and leads a multidisciplinary heritage design studio for post-graduate students. As curator of the architecture archives at the university, he is responsible for the preservation and digitization of significant architectural collections. Johan writes about architectural history with a specific interest in the interpretation of historical archives. In this capacity, he shares information on South African architecture through local and international research projects, public exhibitions and online articles. He is pursuing doctoral studies in the field of cultural heritage.

Alain Proust is one of South Africa’s foremost photographers. In a career spanning many decades, his work has included architecture and the built environment, interior design, art and artists, landscapes and nature, food and beverages, and in-studio advertising stills. Alain was the photographer for Hidden Cape Town and Hidden Johannesburg, both published by Struik Lifestyle, and he brings the same creative vision and eye for detail to Hidden Pretoria.

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