Architecture: what Anglo’s exit means for Joburg CBD
Anglo American is moving its HQ from the Joburg CBD to Rosebank. Heritage architect Brian McKechnie looks at the significance of this move and the building it’s leaving behind
Change is an urban constant. Buildings and businesses come and go. Cities rise and fall. Anglo American’s move to Rosebank in 2021 is no exception in that regard. However, while the mining giant’s resettlement provides fresh opportunity for the city and the company, it still hurts to witness the downtown departure of a grand Joburg mining institution, synonymous with 44 Main and the golden metropolis. An SA legend, relegated to a generic corporate name plaque, backlit on the tenant board of a soulless glass box in the suburbs.
At the turn of the previous century, the situation was very different. Rosebank was practically "out in the country" and the growing city of Joburg was where it was at. Marshallstown was at its centre. Named after pioneering industrialist HB Marshall, it encompasses the well-managed southwestern mining and financial district of downtown Joburg. Marshall’s obituary in The Rand Daily Mail of July 23 1947 notes that the area quickly became the city’s financ...