The Archbishop Desmond Tutu saw his 86th birthday on October the 7th and celebrated this monumental milestone with a stunning tribute to him. Named the arch for the Arch or the arch for the Archbishop, this incredible structure towers over two stories or 9m high and is a corporeal representation of his strength and enduring humanity. Each of the 14 beams was carefully bent and placed to form a dome that stands proud outside of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. Steel plates were added to the base of each beam and upon each was inscribed lines from the South African Constitiution's preamble.
Each beam was carefully bent
This epic structure was commissioned by Design Indaba where a model of the arch was initially revealed. The larger than life real deal was sponsored by Liberty and the arduous task of creating it was awarded to Snøhetta who designed the arch in collaboration with Joburg-based architecture firm Local Studio. The integral team that saw this project through to fruition consisted of structural engineers - The Structural Workshop (Pty) Ltd, foundation engineers - Hatch and contractor - Smart Civils who came together to ensure this stunning piece would actually be able to stand and endure intense forces and loads.
The sleek lines and curves were no small feat with a section of the Arch bending down over a historical tree which needed to be 3D scanned in order that the beams would not harm or cross its path in any way. Great care was taken in the erection of the arch as heritage paving bricks were painstakingly removed to pour foundations and then meticulously replaced to give the astounding final product.
The heritage tree that was preserved during construction
Each brick was carefully removed and replaced upon completion
Fantastic news for Joburgers is that another arch will be raised at Constitution Hill to coincide with the 21st anniversary of the South African Constitution of the 10 of December 2017. For more on the wonderful Arch, you can watch a video interview here.