This research project investigates the possibility of a public programme-overlay at the Union Buildings, situated on Meintjieskop on the western edge of the Pretoria inner city. The design of the Buildings was commissioned to Sir Herbert Baker to celebrate the newly formed Union of South Africa in 1910. The buildings were completed in 1913 and this research project attempts to commemorate the centenary of this landmark. The buildings’ current state does not allow for public participation and this seems unfortunate for both the public and the buildings. This dissertation attempts to reintroduce the Union Buildings to South Africans, the Pretoria public as well as international tourists by recording the memory of the buildings. The intervention is an interpretative archive to the life of the Union Buildings. The static, stereotomic nature of the buildings has ironically been shaped and forced into many different symbolic meanings through the ever-changing political and cultural dynamics of South Africa. The life of the buildings has been interpreted into five distinguishing symbolic-eras: Birth, Union, Oppression, Democracy and Power. The new intervention attempts to make these layered eras public. This project will also explore the relationship between architecture and craft. This study understands that architecture is more than ever becoming a two dimensional experience and this is believed to be a direct result of the dimension in which it is explored - between pen and paper. The investigation will contest this current condition in which architecture finds itself. Moreover the focus of this study will be to explore architecture in its final dimension, thus exploring the relationship between architecture and craft. In the true sense this is a study of the tekton.
Dissertation (MArch(Prof))--University of Pretoria 2012.