Demolition on the cards for Werdmuller Centre

We have just learnt of the notices made in the Cape Times and Die Burger on 11 November 2013 that a public meeting will take place in respect of the proposed demolition of the Werdmuller Centre.

  • Date: 17:00, Wednesday 27 November 2013
  • Location: Werdmuller Centre, 167 Main Road, Claremont, Cape Town (access from Main Road)


by Robert Bowen and Rashiq Fataar

Uytenbogaardt’s 1967 aspiration for a democratic architecture was never realized; an architecture that sought to use a building to draw people together, by creating an inclusive space in what was and remains a disconnected Claremont. The concept was to re-connect the marginalized trader with economic opportunity; those classified as white with those classified as non-white, the commuter, the pedestrian, and the private car user. The implementation of the Group Areas act shortly after it’s construction scuppered any chance for the ideals of the building to manifest. But now that it’s demolition is on the cards, and has been for a while, any influence that Werdmuller may have come to bear on the deconstruction of the legacy of the Group Areas Act will be lost.

With informal traders in the builidng having recently being told to move out, fresh rumours are now flying as to when the building will come down. The proposed demolition was first brought to our attention on 28 October 2011, through a notice received through the Cape Institute of Architecture. According to the document, Heritage Western Cape, a provincial heritage resources authority, had, in terms of the provisions of section 38(2) (a) of the National Heritage Resources Act, called for an impact assessment report (HIA) addressing the issue. Three months later, after registering our interest via and making several attempts to gain information, we have yet to receive any correspondence.

One is left to speculate whether this stems from either a lack of willingness to engage the broader public on such a challenging design issue or merely another example of a failed public participation process that is fast becoming a signature trait of our city.

Read the full article at Mahala

Image Gallery of the Werdmuller Centre here

Image courtesy of Stewart Harris at