The Port Elizabeth Campanile, which is currently a Grade II heritage asset was designed by local architect W. J. McWilliams of Jones and McWilliams and erected in 1923 to commemorate the centenary of the landing of the British Settlers in 1820. The Campanile comprises 53.5m high, 9 floor tower, constructed of load bearing brickwork in a square plan form that flares out at its base.
The conservation philosophy is an approach that recognises, respects and conserves the building’s history while ensuring its longevity. The approach is to do the minimum required and interventions are easily identifiable thus not falsifying records. The aim was to transform the Campanile from an object celebrating the 1820 Settlers only, to become an inclusive symbol for the city and all of its citizens.
A new self-supporting lift has been installed so as not to disturb the balance of the existing slender structure. Elements of surprise, such as a large picture window (along with many others), clad in stainless steel and projecting approximately 400mm beyond the outside face of the existing envelope, was inserted in the place of an existing half-round timber window at the viewing level (just below the carillon level). This provides a full-height view of the harbour, which was never before possible, making this a very unique experience.