South African Architecture

Welcome to South Africa, a land with amazing ethnic and cultural diversity. This country is located in the Southernmost tip of Africa. It has a long coastline which stretches more than 2,500 Km from the desert to the north area with. Moreover, it is bordered by several countries. It starts from Botswana to Zimbabwe. It is hard to resist the charm of this country. South Africa is a huge melting pot. The collaboration of numerous ethnics with their unique cultures creates a fusion that is hard to find in the other part of the world. Of course, we can learn the history and culture through South African architecture.


Architecture Characteristics

The architecture of South Africa mirrors the rich cultural diversity within this country. This rainbow nation has influences from distant countries. We can see it clearly in the architectural landscape. In this country, there are several styles with its own uniqueness. Let’s start with the Modern style. The notable characteristic of this style is the simple and sleek structural techniques. Moreover, it dares to use the large expanses of glass, concrete slabs, and numerous lights. Whenever you look at the buildings, you will get the futuristic feeling. The modern style shows the bold and sophisticated sides of South African architecture.


French Influence

Next, there is French style. Look at the details of the beautiful buildings with this style. They show the elegant and subtle approach to architecture. There are some notable characteristics to notice. There are tall French doors, hipped roofs, flared eaves, dormers, and multi-paned windows. Do not forget the brick, stone and stucco siding. We also would see the pilasters and columns. They are used to create the rhythm and balance the facades. Moreover, some houses with this style also use the round tower at the entryway and arched doorway. Usually, the buildings with French style use light colors as white, light brown, pale yellow and gray.


Cape Vernacular

The next South African architecture style is Cape Vernacular. This is the contemporary version of Cape Dutch style. The building with this style takes the inspiration from the local building on Cape farms. The characteristics of this style are gables with straight parapet walls. Moreover, you will see the clipped eaves with modern beams. Meanwhile, the Cape Dutch style comes with symmetrical front façade. The central gable is decorated with plaster bands with signature pattern. Usually, the houses with this style are found in Cape winelands. The plans are in U or H-shaped layout.



Do not forget the Colonial Style. Even though colonization brings negative historical memory, this style still exists and many Africans remain proud with this style. No wonder, it is easily found all over the continent. The main characteristic of this style is the white walls. Yes, white is a timeless color. It brings the romantic and classic atmosphere for the whole building. Next, you will find the slate roof and apron of columns. Buildings with this style are often arranged in groups of three. It creates the formal and dignified symmetry.