Union Buildings – The iconic landmark of South Africa in Pretoria

The official seat of the South African Government and also house the offices of the President of South Africa. The imposing buildings occupy the highest point of Pretoria, and constitute a South African national heritage site.

The design of the buildings was largely determined by the nature of the site / Image source

Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in the English monumental style in 1908, buildings began in 1909 and was completed in 1913. They have a semi-circular shape, with the two wings at the sides, this serves to represent the union of a formerly divided people. It took approximately 1270 artisans, workmen and laborers almost three years to construct, using 14 million bricks for the interior office walls, half a million cubic feet of freestone, 74 000 cubic yards of concrete, 40 000 bags of cement and 20 000 cubic feet of granite.

These buildings are considered by many to be the architect’s greatest achievement and a South African architectural masterpiece / Image source

The Union Buildings represent a decadent layer of South Africa’s history. Originally built to house the entire Public Service for the Union of South Africa, it was then the largest building in the country and possibly the largest building work undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere at that time.

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