Unisa Little Theatre

About the venue

The design of the UNISA Little Theatre falls within Norman Eaton’s period of African influenced Architectonic Modernism. The design is essentially divided into two separate functional spaces. An educational centre(Northern Street Facade) and a theatre. The use of natural materials, such as stone, brick and marble combined with African motives gives the building a definite African quality. This is seen most prominently in the pathway and adjoining screen wall that undulates towards the building along organic lines. The brick paving is reminiscent of the African rhythm found throughout South Africa as decorative patterning. The organic undulating wall is a reinterpretation of the round mud huts found throughout South Africa.

The building is set back on the site, which allows sufficient parking space. As one approaches the double storey face brick building along the African inspired pathway, one becomes aware of the continuation of the African qualities in the Architecture itself. The brickwork alludes to the weaving of many indigenous cultural groups , and through alternating brick courses and the use of rhythmic proportions the building facade becomes a translation of this art into Architecture .

This harmonious relationship is achieved through the spacing of the steel framed windows, which alternate with change in brick course. Between the windows, Eaton has reduced the width of the brick and changed the course from stretcher to soldier. The building, like most of Eaton’s public buildings incorporate passive thermoregulation through the use of large roof overhangs and brie so lei.

A side wing stretches East behind the street facade, with recessed entrances on the side. The addition of a formal reception area to the UNISA Institute of African Renaissance Studies, approved by the SAHRA, detracts from Eaton’s original design through use of modern materials in an unsympathetic way.

Last modified: 2016/10/09