SAHARA Highlights: Sarah Rovang

by Jacqueline Spafford and Jeffrey Klee, SAHARA Co-Editors | Dec 06, 2019

Sarah Rovang was the 2017 recipient of the H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship and used this generous award “to explore the public history of world industrial heritage.” She travelled through Europe, South Africa, Japan and Chile, visiting and documenting former factories, mines, company towns, and more, including many sites reshaped into museums.  She is an excellent photographer, and her SAHARA contributions include lengthy and informative descriptions. Please explore the rest of her contributions by searching on ‘Rovang’, and if you missed her blog posts you can read them in the Brooks Fellowship Reports archive.

All photos below are by Sarah Rovang.

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Conveyor and processing plant, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works, Tarapacá, Chile. The nitrate extraction and processing plant was established in 1872, modernized in 1918, and in operation up to 1960. Photo 2019.

Museum of Lace and Fashion
Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode (The Museum of Lace and Fashion), Calais, France. Moatti & Riviere Architecture, 2006. The wall surface of the lobby corridor is a reference to the Jacquard loom punch cards used in lace manufacture after 1804 at the original Buolart lace factory. Photo 2019.

Sewell Mining Town
Timber-framed buildings along the ‘grand staircase’ at Sewell Mining Town, built by the Braden Copper Company beginning in 1905, O’Higgins, Chile. The town housed 15,000 people at its peak, and was in active use until the 1970s. Photo 2018.

Music Shell at Moerenuma Park
Detail of the Music Shell at Moerenuma Park, near Sapporo, Japan. Isamu Noguchi, 1982-2005. The park is built on the site of a waste treatment plant, and was designed as one continuous sculpture by Noguchi.Photo 2018.

Zeitz Musuem of Contemporary Art Africa
View of the elevator and silo buildings, Zeitz Musuem of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa. Thomas Heatherwick, Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects, Jacobs Parkers Architects, and Rick Brown + Associates, 2017. The museum, which houses the largest collection of contemporary African art in the world, is built in a re-used grain silo dating to 1921. Photo 2018.

Reeve Power Plant
Reeve Power Plant (REA Power Plant Museum), Hampton, Iowa. Young and Stanley Engineers, 1937-1938.This New Deal plant provided electricity to farmers by burning diesel fuel in four dynamos. This function ceased in 1974, and the plant was restored as a museum in 1989. Photo 2011.

Machine Hall entrance
Machine Hall entrance, the Zollern II/VI Colliery, Dortmund, Germany.Bruno Mohring and Paul Knobbe, 1898-1904. The Gelsenkirchen Mining Company built the Colliery as a “Castle of Labour” to exemplify progress and innovations in mining. Photo 2019.

Ponte City Apartments
View of the central core of the Ponte City Apartments from the base, Johannesburg, South Africa. Designed by Mannie Feldman, Manfred Hefner and Rodney Grosskopf, 1975. Photo 2018.




Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.
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