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A dynamic lightweight addition to our historic structure

Project Value:
R35 Million


University of Pretoria

Pretoria, South Africa

Needing to accommodate a higher student intake within the confines and facilities of the Medical Campus, the best solution for the client was to expand upwards by building on top of an existing building. HLM Africa had designed the original Health Sciences building 20 years before and was approached to work alongside the client and do the architectural additions.

The existing building acted as the most prominent design generator due to its size, structure and existing organisation, but the intention was to differentiate the new addition as contemporary and distinctive. Structural constraints dictated that the new addition would be constructed from lightweight material. The primary intention was flood the internal spaces with natural light and create a connection to the outside environment. This was enhanced by creating semi-enclosed circulation spaces.

The plinth created by the existing building was retained to express the history and the life of the building. The new lightweight extension was expressed through the use of contrasting lightweight materials and finishes that relate to and compliment the structure below. The interiors were designed for their context - the lecture halls are set as a dynamic environment with playful acoustic panels and dramatic lighting, whilst the Dean’s Complex administrative offices are conceived as dignified and stately spaces with a carefully selected collection of art and furniture.

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