How Architects in Pretoria are Redefining the Capital City’s Image

Established on the banks of the Apies river in 1855 and named after the father of its founder and the leader of the Battle of Blood River, Andries Pretorius, the new settlement of around 300 people was built as the capital of the newly formed South African Republic. The short-lived republican territory was annexed by the British in 1900, prompting an influx of migrants and a steady increase in the town’s population. At this time, the work of architects in Pretoria was largely an eclectic mix of late Victorian and Edwardian English with Cape Dutch. The two latter styles are captured in the design of the iconic Union Buildings, where they have been blended to represent the unity between the English and Afrikaans peoples.

Equally well-known for its colourful Jacarandas and buildings, such as the Palace of Justice, Tudor Chambers, and the railway station that serves as a terminus for the world-famous Blue Train, it was only awarded city status in 1961 when the union became a republic. Since then, architects in Pretoria have been hard at work changing the face of the city with the steady introduction of more contemporary structures better suited to the needs of modern living.

Among the first of these was the old administration building of the city’s university. Completed in 1968, the triangular building is affectionately known as “Die Skip” and combines an intricate relief on its curved, sail-like northwest wall, with features of the style known as neo-brutalism. However, perhaps an even more impressive monument to the city’s academic prowess and a tribute to the creativity of the architects in Pretoria is the Muckleneuk campus of the University of South Africa (UNISA). Providing northbound motorists with their first glimpse of the city, it is renowned for its massive proportions and the lengthy projection from the brow of the ridge supported only by a steel girder and a single, massive column.

While some have been attempting to create a new skyline for the CBD with the addition of a number of impressive high rise structures, others among the architects in Pretoria have been sharing their talents between the commercial and domestic scenes with some eye-catching developments in the Jacaranda city’s leafy suburbs. One firm that has earned itself a position at the cutting edge of this 21st century suburban renaissance is JK Designs. Combining the skills of design, architecture, and project management, the dynamic young team is dedicated to enhancing the client experience.

An example to all architects in Pretoria, the firm strives to integrate functionality with elegant designs by combining advanced technologies with the innovative ideas that set it apart from the crowd.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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