Some observations on architecture's precocious prodigies and two of South Africa's own

Access full-text article here


Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • Abstract:

    Was it scientific biographer Abraham Pais who wrote, ‘If Einstein had stopped doing physics in the year 1925 and had gone fishing, he would be just as beloved, just as great. It would not have made a damn bit of difference’? To resort to that source of current omniscience, Wikipedia, in searching for the term ‘Child Prodigies’, one finds listed many mathematicians, followed by a preponderance of those, mainly male, in the sciences devoted to mathematical manipulation. Then there are the musicians, which leads me to conclude that music is liquid mathematics before frozen architecture! Thereafter, of course, are sports, games and acting, in all of which women also feature. But only one psychologist, Jean Piaget, the iconic educationalist, and no architect! The only mention of an architect is the contemporary and acclaimed starchitect, Sheilagh Sri Prakesh, but that is as a performer of traditional Indian dance. A broader Google search of the combined term ‘architect prodigy’ delivers an Australian, one John James Clark (1838 – 1915), who was in public service and designing at age fourteen and had produced something memorable, aptly named the Old Treasure Building, in Melbourne, at the age of 19. He went on to live a long and productive life.