Founder of The Building Centre

Laurie Wale is the founder of the first Building Centre in South Africa, therefore the third oldest of it's kind in the world. 

About Laurie Wale . . 1916 – 2015


Born 14th June 1916,

Laurie Wale was the founder / publisher of the ‘Architect and Builder’ Magazine (1951) and the founder of the Cape Town Building Centre (1953).

His architectural studies at UCT were cut short by the Second World War, during which time he served in the Sixth, South African Armoured Division in Italy and Egypt, where his interest in writing and publishing blossomed through the publication, the Sable, "OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE S.A. ARMD. DIV." which he edited.

After the war, he pursued these interests and joined Spotlight Magazine.  In 1947, he married June Shaw. The couple had two children, Peter and Cheryl.The couple were later separated and in 1952, he married Stephanie Bester.

He was made an Honorary Life member of the Cape Institute for Architecture, on the strength of his contribution to architects and architecture, through his life’s work.

The Cape Town Building Centre has served as a point of reference for architects and their clients for 62 years. Many will be familiar with the well-attended annual gatherings for Architects and Building Centre exhibitors, in Cartwrights Corner Adderley Street.

A man of many talents, he performed the role of honorary consul for Mexico, until diplomatic relations with South Africa ceased. He fished, shot and sailed for South Africa and at the age of 72, became a veteran athlete, picking up his earlier record-breaking UCT skills at javelin, shotput and discus, competing in the World Veteran Games in Italy, at the age of 91.

Together with Stephanie, he lived a long and full life at their beautiful home in Bishopscourt, beginning each day at his piano, Chopin concertos being his favourite pieces. They knew and hosted many renowned architects, Le Corbusier, the French/Swiss architect among them.

Poetically, Stephanie and Laurie, always the gracious and devoted couple, died peacefully on the same day in their home, surrounded by loving children, grand and great grandchildren . His twin brother was the well known artist, Eric Wale.