ABLEWIKI:Centenary Building (Hatfield Campus, University of Pretoria)
The appropriately named Centenary Building (or 'Eeufeesgebou') commemorates a hundred years of architectural diversity on the University of Pretoria campus. The Centenary Building was the first lecture hall complex built on the Hatfield Campus, necessitated by the continuous growth in student numbers, since the inauguration of the Chancellor’s Building in 1959. The building houses six lecture halls of 300 seats each, and is mostly used for undergraduate lectures and examinations.
Current known heritage status
Possible interested and affected parties
- University of Pretoria.
- Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria.
- Pretoria Institute for Architecture.
The Centenary Building reacts to existing pedestrian patterns, resulting in different circulation routes and means of access which contributed substantially to its formal modulation. On a macro scale, the building draws inspiration from other celebrated structures in its proximity, particularly the sculptural modernist examples by Jooste and Sandrock. The reappraisal of the modernist heritage – both on campus and beyond – is markedly tempered by a sensitivity to context that is emblematic of a younger generation’s disaffection of architectural egocentrism. Perhaps unselfconsciously, the Centenary Building pays homage to Alvar Aalto. In turn, the exploitation of the dynamics of movement echoes Le Corbusier’s promenade architecturale.
The spatial continuum of the ramp, the celebrated stairwells and moments of pause and rotation undeniably situate the work in the modernist provenance. However, the ultimate merit of the Centenary Building resides in the creation of a microregionalism through the perceptive distillation of a design idiom, specific to the campus of the University of Pretoria.
Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces
The architecture of the building reflects various aspects of a converted Modern language, synonymous with the Campus and the city of Pretoria. The building blends well with the neighboring Law Building by continuing the street front and lines. A ramp was introduced to draw visitors and users in from the Ring Road to the foyer space above. The ramp simultaneously serves as a circulation route and gathering space with concrete seats provided as an integrated part of the ramp's edge. Due to the ramp with its hovering concrete canopy above and the communal foyer as a transition space, the entrance is well defined which leaves the physical entrance from the foyer to the specific areas within the building to be somewhat downplayed.
True to the Modern idiom the building sits on pilotis on a fixed grid. This allows for a continuity of the urban space at ground level. The buildings internal spaces are articulated and some are expressed externally as wrapped concrete skin with glass infill. The formal organic volumes of the lecture halls to the back of the building also reiterate the Monumental Modern language.
Even the selection of materials resonate materials used elsewhere on the campus. The texture of the red brick and off- shutter concrete creates a pleasant contrast to the smooth, stark white, plastered volumes at the back. Despite the scale of the volumes the street facade to the Ring Road maintains a human scale in spite of the public nature of the building.
- Earthworld Architects and Interiors
- Precedent Study (UP)
- Top Box Design
- Centenary Building Sketchup model
- Centenary Building Sketchup model with colour
- Centenary Building South Elevation
- Centenary Building offically opened
- JOUBERT, O. 2009. 10 Years and 100 Buildings: Architecture in a Democratic South Africa. Cape Town: Bell-Roberts Publishing
- PEROLD, M. 2009. Music2. Pretoria: UPETD
- Top Box Design. 2010. Centenary Building in Pretoria, South Africa. Internet: Top Box Design
- University of Pretoria. 2009. Centenary Building officially opened. Pretoria: University of Pretoria