OH6 Pius Pahl Monograph

I started becoming intrigued by Pius Pahl when, at the Bauhaus museum in Berlin, I spotted a couple of his drawings on display. They were drawings of buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe who was one of the teachers at the Bauhaus School in Weimar from 1930 - 1933. I started investigating Pahl and found out that he was a German architect who married a South African woman and decided to move to a quiet dorpie of Stellenbosch shortly after World War II. He opened up a practice in Stellenbosch and the result is that Stellenbosch now has the biggest collection of private homes designed in the Bauhaus tradition. I just had to visit them.

Luckily I was not the only Bauhaus/Pahl enthusiast and I got in contact with a man who not only owns one of these Pahl gems but also restores and maintains his house in the suitable manner which respects the original intentions. He invited me to see his house and also put me in touch with other owners, who might I add, are very much aware of the significance of their properties. What struck me the most is the modesty in scale of these homes - service areas like bathrooms and kitchens are strictly utilitarian whereas the living areas are much more generous. This is in stark contrast to today's contemporary houses with large kitchens and expansive bathrooms. Photo credits: H Wolff, Architect and Builder

Huis Struwig

Huis Botha

Huis van Aarde

Huis Paauw

Huis Malan

Huis Trumpelmann


  1. The experience of visiting Pahl's architecture highlights the importance of orientation, space transition, program... These houses stay at peace with the site, its topography, views, sun access...
    The fact that they are modern Bauhaus inspired buildings becomes somehow less important, just the consecuence of its own time, at the moment one begins to discover the underlying esence of their architectural value.
    The magic of experiencing wise treatment of light and space, the choice of materials, textures and colours...
    The kind of things that only a walk through a good building evoke. No matter style or era.
    In this case XXs at its best, to my delight....


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  3. Many years back, when I was s tudent of architecture in Cape Town, I had the good fortune to meet and interview Pius Pahl on three accasions.
    He was the subject of my history project. He very gratiously invited me to his lovely home and gave me all the time I needed. I had the great privilage of being taken to all his important buidings and shown around them by the man himself.
    What a great experience it was. He was very kind to me and I only wish I had been older and more mature to really understand what a privilige this was.