Date: officially opened 2019

Client: Department of Public Works

Project Type: New Commercial | Institutional

Location: Mbombela | Mpumalanga

Status: Completed

The concept of the Mpumalanga High Court aimed to challenge the brief of a ‘High Court’ and interrogate the compilation thereof. In order to achieve this, two components were placed in juxtaposition:

The identification of the relationship between the architecture of the court, and the precinct thereof, to the architecture of the collective and the manner in which to address the brief in a practical and functional relationship.

Keeping this in mind, these two questions were asked: “What does the face of justice look like when manifested in a building? What are the experiences of users and visitors of this building that should be designed to reflect the values of justice?’

The basis of the design is illustrated in the conceptual diagram, where the Admin (A) and the Court (C) components sit in a comfortable juxtaposition to each other. Although physically separate, the holistic functioning relationship between the two buildings is represented through effective shared space and metaphorical linkage.

Designed as a single mass, the Admin Building was put on a larger scale to credit the administration of the legal systems in place to serve and protect the court proceedings within. Emphasizing the protection thereof, the roof of the Admin Building shields the shared space between A and C and embraces the court. The Court Buildings, known as the six coloured building blocks of justice, encompass the twelve courtrooms and sit on a reduced scale that reflects the public and their need to be safeguarded. Physically tying the buildings together and to the public is the landscaping which is designed with concentric circles to create a sense of presence and acceptance for the arrival of individuals. Each of these buildings alone are unable to serve a purpose but together they enable and promote equality and justice.

The landscaping, done by LTLA Landscape Studios, was awarded gold status during the 2018 SALI Awards protocol.