Johan Swart

Staff Profile

MArch (Prof); MSc Applied Science (Architecture)

Lecturer: Architectural History; Curator: Architecture Archives at the University of Pretoria (AAUP); Coordinator: BArchHons Programme

Contact no: +27 (0)12 420 2583

Email: [email protected]

Office: 3-9, Boukunde, Building, Hatfield Campus


Johan Swart holds a masters degree in architecture and heritage studies. At the University of Pretoria, he teaches architectural history and leads a heritage focused design studio for postgraduate students. As curator of the Architecture Archives at the University of Pretoria (AAUP), he is also responsible for the safeguarding and interpretation of significant historical drawing collections. His academic interests include the history of design, archival practice, cultural landscapes and adaptive re-use. He writes about and consults in relation to the cultural historical aspects of architecture with a developing specialisation in the marginal field of architectural archives.

Johan originally graduated in the MArch(Prof) programme at the University of Pretoria in 2010, after which he worked in practice for a few years and completed a second masters degree at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands before joining the Department of Architecture as a full-time lecturer in 2014. Since then he has been involved in teaching, selection, research and curriculum development and has contributed to the dissemination of  information about South African architectural heritage through collaborative international research projects, public exhibitions, skills exchange missions and content development within online heritage platforms.

Course involvement and teaching philosophy

Johan coordinates the honours architecture programme in architecture and leads the department’s postgraduate heritage studio. He also teaches South African architectural history in the third year and serves as supervisor to MArch(Prof) students in the thesis programme. His teaching interest lies in contextual and historically informed design processes that take cognisance of the complexities of cultural ecologies and the potential of heritage places within development processes.


-Third year History (OMG310 & OMG320)

-Honours Design (RFP711, RFP721, RFP723)

-Mprof supervision (DIT, DPD, CPD)

Research profile

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-6294-155X

Department Research Focus Areas: Memory, Identity and legacy

Research interests: Architectural Archives; Architectural History; Heritage and Cultural Landscapes

Johan’s broader research interests fall within the fields of history and heritage to include areas such as the history of design, archival practice, cultural landscapes and adaptive re-use. His current research focus, and the topic of his doctoral study at the University of Pretoria, relates to archiving and curatorship within the discipline of architecture. His interest in architecture archives more broadly relates to the role of archives in the knowledge realms of architecture and their interpretation towards new insights into architectural history, discourse and design.

More specifically, Johan’s research is focused on the extensive and highly significant collections housed at the Architecture Archives at the University of Pretoria (AAUP), such as the archives of 20th century South African architects like Norman Eaton, Gordon McIntosh, Helmutt Stauch and John Fassler among others. The ongoing appraisal and interpretation of these collections, as well as their dissemination through research projects and exhibitions comprise the majority of Johan’s research activities.

Research projects

The history and collections of the Architecture Archives of the University of Pretoria (AAUP research programme)

Tectonic ZA Wilhelmiens project (funded by the Netherlands Embassy, in collaboration with TU/Delft)

Redefining Contested Shared Shared Heritage project (funded by the Netherlands Embassy, in collaboration with Marianne de Klerk Architects and Urban Designers

Recent publications

Swart, J.J. 2021. Modern Movement and the City ‐ An exhibition from the Architecture Archives of the University of Pretoria. Image & Text, no.35

Swart, J.J. 2021. The ‘Tectonic’ archives - Shared heritage in architectural collections. In: Common Ground: Dutch-South African Architectural Exchanges, 1902―1961, eds. Clarke, N.J.C., Kuijpers, M., Fisher, R.C. Volendam: LM Publishers

Swart, J.J. 2021. Architecture from the Archives 1 - Shared Heritage Album. Pretoria: Architecture Archives at the University of Pretoria.

Barker, A. & Swart, J.J. 2020. Platforms of knowledge: architectural heritage practice and the information age in South Africa. Virtual Archaeology Review, 11(22), 56-73

Swart, J.J. & Proust, A. 2019. Hidden Pretoria. Cape Town: Struik Lifestyle

Students currently supervising

Elmar van Wyk. Art of Ideology 2021 MArch(Prof) – a Denkmal against the a-political.

Heike Karberg. 2021 MArch(Prof) - Uncovering the latent potential of (re)appropriated neglected spaces.

Cameron Forder. 2021 March(Prof) - Approaching a living heritage framework at the overlap of suburbanencroachment and iron age ruins.

Published by Oratile Mothoagae

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