Senior Lecturer at
Stellenbosch University, Department of Civil
Engeneering, until 1978
Founder of the engineering firm, Hugo & Partners
Francois was born in Cape Town on 27 June 1939. In 1967 he matriculated at the
Bellville High School and, in 1962, obtained his Civil Engineering degree at
He started his career at the South African Railway & Harbours in Cape Town and was involved in the construction of the new railway station. During this time he received an Italian bursary to study engineering in Italy (in Italian) where he obtained a post-graduate Diploma at the Politecnico di Milano (with distinction) in 1964. On his return, he joined the consulting engineering firm, Ninham Shand & Partners, in the bridge design section.
In 1966 he was offered a post at the Civil Engineering Faculty of Stellenbosch University. For the next twelve years he lectured, did research and, in 1973, obtained his Ph.D degree. In 1975 he spent his sabbatical leave as a visiting lecturer at the Berkeley Campus of the University of California where he did research under the renowned Prof. E. Popov.
In 1978 he re-entered the consulting engineering business in Pretoria when he was offered a directorship at Sodeteg SA, an international French company. During this time he was involved in various projects in Africa and in the Middle East.
In 1980 he started his own engineering firm, Hugo & Partners. Over the years his firm has been responsible for a variety of major projects. These include the Vista Universities at Mamelodi, Soweto, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, hospitals at Rustenburg, Kalafong and Tembisa, schools at Pretoria and Soshanguwe, churches, office buildings, factories, reservoirs and residential structures.
Over numerous years the Agrément Board has consulted him on the structural strength and stability aspects of various innovative building systems. He has also evaluated a number of alternative construction systems for the SABS, as well as for local and international clients. For Everite he developed structural design theories for their Nutec sheets which replaced their old asbestos cement sheeting.
Francois, together with an architect and building specialist, developed the Ecospan Roofing System - of which an example can be seen at the Johannesburg International Airport.
In 1985 they received three awards for the roofing system, namely, SAISC: Winner - Unique/Innovative Application; Barnib Award: Winner - Commercial Category and the Crystal Design Award: Winner - Building and Architecture.
Francois is married to Molly. They have five children and six grandchildren.
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