I’ve always been OBSESSED with the modernist factories down in Salt River. Like empty cruise-liners they dock next to the congested Main road where taxi’s wind through buses and cars.
My friend Rikus Mundey did his thesis on the reuse of the Rex Trueform building, (originally called the Judge Clothing Factory) designed by Max Policansky in 1937 – yep that’s an oldie, alright. A year later Policansky also did the factory next door – the Cavalla Cigarette Factory for his father. The two, because of various extensions and later renovations, look like one big building on Victoria Rd Salt River. The buildings are abandoned because Rex Trueform retrenched most of the staff about 5 years ago (instead of manufacturing clothes and creating employment, the owners decided to import from China and sell at their retail shop – Queenspark. Sad, I know, especially considering that most of the workers were the single breadwinners of many of the households on the Cape Flats). According to Rikus he once went inside just to discover that the spaces are being used as a paintball arcade!
Anyway, I am curious about Policansky for a few reasons: firstly because of the prolific amount of industrial buildings he designed. His factories are littered all over old industrial areas like Elsies River and Ndabeni; secondly because of the unapologetic functionalist manner these buildings were designed and executed; thirdly Policansky’s work could be considered as the first real introduction of modernism here at the Cape and with the industrial commissions that he received, a much bolder contribution than say the Transvaal Group led by Rex Martienssen and co who mostly experimented with private houses and apartments.
So for OH 13 – Policansky Monograph I am looking to gain access to these ‘icons of the garment industry’ Rex Trueform (Judge Clothing 1937) and Jordan Shoes (Invincible Factory 1950), in particular. Photo Credits: H Wolff
|Judge Clothing (now Rex Trueform) - M Policanksy 1937-8|
Photo Acknowledgement: HiltonT@Flickr
|Jordan Shoes, formerly Invincible Factory Complex 1950 - M Policansky |
|Jordan Shoes, formerly Invincible Factory Complex 1950- M Policansky|