OBITUARY : PETER "SHOT" JONES, Architect, Artist & Friend of the People

It is with great sadness and regret that we record the tragic death of South African architect Peter Jones on the 9th December 2009 in Johannesburg. Peter had been in a coma for ten days following a freak traffic accident in Mozambique, where he had recently been working.

His unexpected and sudden departure has brought immense sadness and sorrow to the hundreds of friends and colleagues who had the good fortune of studying, working or associating with him. He will be much missed by all who knew him and remembered as a wonderful man, an excellent friend and a fine architect.

To his family we offer our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy on behalf of the members of the Architect Africa Collective and the countless others who would like to do so but do not have the contact. Our thoughts are with you.

If you knew Peter, you would know that he came to us from the future. He was not of this time but from a time and space where truth, love, compassion, loyalty, caring, dedication, honesty, generosity, forgiveness, gentleness and good humour are the qualities by which a great man is measured. In the future, Peter is a giant.

In the present, Peter was larger than life; a gregarious non-conformist who explored the endless occupational permutations of art, architecture and society in every conceivable way. He could be found on movie sets producing story boards, in Sandton commercial practices designing shopping malls, in remote tribal areas building adobe clinics or in Cape Town suffering the hunger pains of private practice. He was a versatile, mobile and extremely multi-talented architect.

"Shot Jones", as he was affectionately known to his Natal School of Architecture contemporaries, held the firm belief that the architect's primary duty is to society - and not necessarily to the client. More specifically, that the needs of the people who use the buildings or the spaces which we create must always take preference to the client's desire to maximise profits and savings. Whilst this commendable architectural philosophy won him the love of the people it did little to expand his commercial client base, hence his body of work is intensely rich in diversity, frequently mysterious but always exciting, loving and caring.

Peter's natural ability to navigate the extreme social, racial and cultural diversities particular to our part of Africa enabled him to connect the most unlikely people together - he was a great architect of friendships and had a passion for bringing people together. Who can forget his Yeoville days when he would invite one hundred people to his tiny flat for a party and then be the only one not to pitch up?

Peter Jones will be remembered by his colleagues with deep affection and respect.

And very much missed.


The memorial service in Durban will be held on Saturday, 19th December, at 10 am at Assumption Catholic Church, corner of Nicolson Road and Queen Mary Avenue, Umbilo, Durban.

Photographs courtesy Angela Curtis.