About This Project

Client : Department of Public Works, Eastern Cape

Type : Public

Site : Bhisho, Eastern Cape

Size : 15 000square meters (foot print)

Partners : Ikhuba

This proposal was the result of a competition brief which called for a new Office Complex for the Premier of the Eastern Cape to be situated in Bhisho. The Office Complex would not only house the Premier’s Office but also include a number of other Departments, such as Director General, Administration, Planning and ancillary components such as auditoria and basement parking. In addition the brief required the new proposal to address the relationship with the adjacent House of Traditional Leader’s (HOTL) Complex, the existing Urban Framework for Bhisho and incorporate aspects of sustainable design and energy efficiency.


The new proposal attempted to establish a convivial relationship with the Urban Design requirements. In this regard a new public square would be located on the north east corner of the site in close proximity with the HOTL complex, with a pavilion called an ‘Igoqo” on the square encompassing the main pedestrian entry. The main public, semi public and some support components would be located adjacent to this area. The circulation spine would manifest itself from the main entrance in the east to the Premier’s office block in the west, on multiple levels and would serve as a large scale ordering device to connect the various component parts of the building. The office complex would engage the circulation spine / concourse as a multi level component, arranged around a series of north facing courtyards, and would house Administration, Institution Building and Transformation, and Provincial Planning Departments. The Premier’s office component would be set up around the termination of the east/west axis, manifested as the concourse / circulation spine where distant views of the Amatola Mountains would be revealed. The extent of the soft- and hard landscaped garden proposed to the north of the building means to encompass the House of Traditional Leaders building, thereby erasing the idea of a boundary. The geometries of the patterns have been strongly informed by the cattle out to pasture narrative when seen in the context of creating a strong visual impression of the Eastern Cape.


The formal arrangement and articulation furthermore attempted to employ a layered methodology to integrate the key narratives such as bi-axial, east/west, igoqo and cattle out to pasture on the one hand and sustainable, labour intensive, craft based construction- and assembly systems on the other hand.

Architecture, Institutional, Urban Design