On Friday 3 March 2017, Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta marked the end of Cape Town’s annual Design Indaba by holding the first public viewing of its latest project: a memorial arch in honour of human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Designed by Snøhetta and built by Thomas Chapman of Local Studio, the structure was created in collaboration with South African office and Design Indaba.
To the audience’s surprise and delight, the archbishop himself joined the celebration, making his first public appearance in nearly two years. The Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Bishop Margaret Vertue joined the proceedings, which were brought to a close with a beautiful chorus sung by a 48-person choir.
Scheduled to be completed in late 2017, the first arch will take its permanent location at the Constitutional Court of South Africa in Johannesburg. A second arch will be situated in Cape Town at the intersection of Adderley and Wale Street at the northern end of The Company’s Garden, between St George’s Cathedral (where Tutu served as archbishop) and the Houses of Parliament. Symbolically linking the sites of Parliament and the Constitutional Court, the sister arches will each feature 14 intertwined strands of bent wood to represent the 14 chapters of the South African constitution.
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