Specialising in heritage has resulted in the careful restoration and adaptive re-use of many interesting buildings.

Workers Library


This abandoned ruin in Newtown had housed migrant labourers working for the JHB City Council since 1912. In one of the most exciting jobs of their careers, Henry Paine and Alan Lipman transformed the site that had been hidden from JHB life for 100 odd years, and exposed the way people had been made to live. The aim was to commemorate the spaces as they were so as not to forget, and to make the rest of the building useable and comfortable. The Workers Library won SAIA Awards of Excellence and Merit. 10 years later, Henry made further alterations, consolidating what was done before and designing a dedicated exhibiton space. The focal point was the reception pavillion of glass and steel.

Shandukani Hospital


Built in 1927 as an operating theatre where the first open heart valve transplants were performed. It was abandoned by the Health Dept in the mid '80's until 2010 when Henry Paine + Partners were briefed to restore and refurbish it as a maternity hospital. We were asked to design “a ‘happy place’ with agreeable and unthreatening materials, finishes and furnishings; that it should be more like a living room than a hospital”. The spaces were to be designed to be comfortable for mothers and children as well as for the staff who were to occupy it. It was important that people could see what the building was like before - it had to remain intact and original – which meant that the newly added top floor had to be clearly defined from the old. The building was adapted in terms of the maxim of doing ‘as much as necessary and as little as possible to the building’. As the building had been abandoned for many years it had become severely damaged necessitating an extensive re-fit of services as well as the addition of new services required by modern medicine.

The building won the coveted Hulala / Colloseum award for Conservation awarded by the City of Johannesburg and the Steel Awards for Sustainable architecture conferred by the SAISC.

Church of Christ the King

The Church was made famous by father Trevor Huddleston in Sophiatown, Johannesburg. Forced removals and demolition of practically every building were carried out in Sophiatown in the mid 1950’s and the suburb was rezoned for whites only and renamed "Triomf" —Afrikaans for Triumph—by the government. The church was designed in 1935 by Frank Fleming using money donated by a resident of Parktown; a handsome as well as economical building resulted from a clever design. The building was sold by the Anglican Church soon after Father Huddleston’s forced departure from SA, to the Department of Community Development, apparently without any sense of irony. The deconsecrated building served time as a boxing academy and then an evangelical church. it was re-purchased by the Anglicans and the reconstituted congregation commissioned Henry Paine to restore it. Many of the original finishes were uncovered under layers of cement and tiles but, sadly, despite their being seen under layers of paint, the famous paintings by Sister Margaret were not possible to restore. It was necessary to replace all the electrical infrastructure which was surface mounted so as to avoid damage to the masonry.

When Father Huddleston died in 1998, the firm was asked to add a memorial ,for internment of his ashes. This was done using a small budget of R30 000 with the use of three sandstone monoliths and a grove of olive trees on the south side of the church, in the shadow of the tower.


Close to the site of the historic Congress of the People this modest community facility was built through the upgrading of existing buildings that were in a dilapidated state. The project was funded by the City of Johannesburg as a temporary centre for this neglected suburb prior to the construction of the gargantuan development that was built over the site of the original gathering place which berthed the Freedom Charter and our Constitution. It forms the basis of a creche, small meeting spaces and an exhibition area. The site was landscaped by Leonard Rubin on a miniscule budget.


The old Standard Bank building in Newtown, Johannesburg, designed by Stucke Harrison Architects, was bought by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa to be used as their headquarters. Henry Paine and Alan Lipman were asked to adapt the building as an office. With its iconic corner entry, echoing Stucke’s design for the headquarters building in the city, it is one of the most distinctive buildings in the area. The design incorporates the archives in the basement which is linked to the upper floors through holes cut in the floor enabling a connection between it and the ground and mezzanine floors. A lift was installed so that disabled members of staff had access to all areas. As little as possible was done to the building with as much as necessary done to achieve the objective of retaining the character of the building but with the functionality of an office building.

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Henry Paine Architects
23 Southern Right Close
Ballots Heights
South Africa

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Leading architects specialising in community projects, new residential houses and alterations, with a special focus on heritage projects.