The supreme court of appeal is situated in Bloemfontein in the historically significant Pres. Brand Street with its many heritage sandstone buildings.

Historical background

Before the appeal court was built, the Fourth Raadsaal served as appeal court and high court.

The official opening of the appeal court was in 1929.

The first addition to the appeal court was done during the 1960's, of which the toothed joint is visible on the northern elevation.

During the 1990's there was a need for additional accommodation, which consisted mainly of a new court room and offices. Excavation work for the new addition started in 2005 and the anticipated building period was fifty-four months because of the complexity of the building.

New supreme court of appeal

The original appeal court building was designed in a free roman style.

The original building was a symmetrical building in its own landscape, on an east-west axel with the main entrance to pres. Brand Street.

This addition was designed a-symmetrically to the original building.

The design of the new addition adapted to the original building, but with its own identity. This identity was created by

Simplifying the details of the original building and as a result of modern technology.

The position and shape of the new additions were dictated by the narrow site on the western boundary.

The heritage principle, the Australian burra charter, was followed by simply respecting the various stages of the existing building.

First phase (1929), pure symmetrical building.

Second phase (1960's), ignoring symmetry.

2004 concept. Respecting the early phases but still adapting to scale, structure and appearance.

One could argue to accept a design approach of contemporary nature to be used for this exciting project.

However, we chose to accept the current architectural qualities situated in form, scale and materials used in the existing building.

The supreme court of appeal,

"a national heritage building situated in a recognised heritage environment".

Due to the functionality and stature of this monument we opted to match in appearance, structure and scale.

Although the existing appeal court appeared to be a single built entity, history confirmed it to be constructed in two different phases. We respect the previous phases in terms of space and form. Although more stylistic detailing was used, we adapted to the architectural qualities of the existing.

This allows the old and the new to appear in unison.


Free State Institute of Architects

Award for Architecture 2013