Heritage Forum

Paul le Roux: leading 20th century Stellenbosch architect

Nov 24, 2014 | Forum, News

Paul Regent le Roux, the eldest of six children, was born in London on 25 February 1930, while his father was following advanced studies in mathematics in that city.

He was awarded a Rhodes bursary for study in England on matriculating from the Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch, but decided against accepting it because his dream was to study architecture at the University of Cape Town. The words of Sir Winston Churchill, one of Le Roux’s heroes, were decisive: “We shape buildings and then they shape our lives”.

Le Roux therefore studied architecture at the University of Cape Town from 1949 to 1953. His studies included two years’ practical experience with the architect Wynand Louw in Paarl. On completion of his studies, he immediately established his own office in Stellenbosch.

This is where Le Roux was to be found for the following 46 years, except for a period of eight months during which he was on a study tour in Europe in 1956 and two years in 1977 and ‘78 as head of the architectural school at the then University of Port Elizabeth (now the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University). Although he retired in 1989, he stayed in Stellenbosch until 2000, after which he and his wife, Wilsie Schumann (who died in April 2012) moved to Kleinmond. Four children – Winie, Freda, Laal and Malan – were born to them.

Several milestones in Le Roux’s career will be of importance for Stellenbosch residents.

One of these is the Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl. Although designed by his friend Jan van Wyk, Le Roux was responsible for supervising the construction.

Le Roux also played an important role in Stellenbosch in the establishment of the Aesthetics Committee (now the planning and advisory committee) that strove to have new buildings erected in harmony with the town’s historical heritage. He was actively involved with the organisation around the Stellenbosch tercentenary celebrations in 1979.

In 1985, when Gideon Visser became a partner, the name of the firm was changed to Le Roux Visser Architects. Upon Le Roux’s retirement in 1989, the firm produced a special publication dedicated to ‘valued clients and friends’ of 35 years.

The following projects are among those listed in this publication:

  • Hawston High School
  • Eendekuil DR Church, Piketberg 1962
NG Kerk_Eendekuil

NG Church, Eendekuil

  • Concord (student accommodation), Stellenbosch 1964
Concord, Stellenbosch

Concord, Stellenbosch

  • Helderzicht, Stellenbosch 1965
  • Akkerhof, Stellenbosch 1966
  • Welgelegen DR Church Centre, Stellenbosch 1972
  • Andmar, Stellenbosch 1972

Andmar Building, Stellenbosch

  • Brandvlei Co-operative Wine Cellar, Worcester 1974
  • Saambou, Stellenbosch, 1975
  • House Malherbe, Stellenbosch 1976

House Malherbe, Stellenbosch

  • Co-operative Wine Cellar, Jacobsdal 1976
  • Library, Theological Seminary, Stellenbosch University 1976
  • Vaalharts Co-operative Wine Cellar, Hartswater 1977
  • Sam Newman, Stellenbosch, 1982
  • Winter Rain Main Building (in collaboration with GC Osler Architect), Elsenburg, Stellenbosch 1983

Winterreën, Elsenburg, Stellenbosch

  • Le Roux Beach House, Kleinmond 1983
  • Sonvallei (town house development), Durbanville 1984
  • Kenridge DR Church, Durbanville 1985
  • Mostertsdrift Retirement Home, Stellenbosch 1986
  • House MacDonald, Stellenbosch University 1986
  • Lieberheim, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch 1987
  • House Wiese, Brandwacht, Stellenbosch 1987
Huis Wielse, Brandwacht, Stellenbosch

House Wielse, Brandwacht, Stellenbosch

  • The Bureau for Systems Engineering (BSI), Tegnopark, Stellenbosch 1988

BSI Technopark


BSI Technopark

You might also enjoy these articles…