The use of ceramics as an aesthetic element in Durban architecture (1914-2012)
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This paper documents and evaluates the use of ceramics as an aesthetic architectural element in Durban from 1914-2012 with special reference to James Hall (1916-2006), Andrew Walford (b.1942) and Jane du Rand (b.1969). These artists were selected because their work demonstrates a wide range of the use of decorative tiles and mosaics as aesthetic elements in Durban architecture over a period of more than fifty years. Reference is made to the historical use of tiles and mosaics as aesthetic architectural elements in Durban from 1914-1955 in order to provide a context to an investigation and evaluation of the contribution of Hall, Walford and du Rand to the use of tiles and mosaics as an aesthetic architectural element in Durban. The paper begins by highlighting the importance of this study, discusses the role of ceramic architectural adornment and defines terminology for the purpose of this research. In addition an explanation of the research methodology used, research questions and literature review is provided. The study is contextualised through an overview of the historical background of the use of ceramics (tiles and mosaics) as an aesthetic element in architecture. The importance of the use of ceramic elements in relation to architecture, as well as the different techniques and methods of production, are highlighted and related to contemporary practice. The overview provides insight into how the use of ceramic elements in the past has influenced the approach of contemporary practice. My contribution to the use of mosaics as an aesthetic architectural element in Durban and my art practice, in the form of an installation titled passage is discussed and evaluated. The paper concludes by noting that the historical use of tiles and mosaics as aesthetic elements in architecture persists in contemporary art practice. However, the methods of tiled mosaic production and tiled mosaic techniques have been revolutionised extensively. It is evident that, the use of ceramics as an aesthetic element in Durban architecture reflects, both a strong European design influence and a distinctive local identity.