11/12/2017 16:53 SAST | Updated 11/12/2017 16:53 SAST

Unveiled: Johannesburg Gets Its Own Arch For 'The Arch' Desmond Tutu

The structure commemorates the work and life of the struggle archbishop.


Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, is now the new home of its own Arch for Arch, a commissioned architectural structure commemorating the work and life of one of South Africa's most celebrated figures, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The extraordinary structure consists of 14 individually arched beams of wood (bent by Croatian boat builder Dario Farcic) which together form a dome. Each strand of wood bears a single line from the South African Constitution's preamble, which consists of 14 lines, with each piece of wood signifying the founding principles on which the country is built.

The Johannesburg arch joins its sister Arch for Arch near St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, which launched on 7 October, 2017, to coincide with Tutu's 86th birthday. It's design prototype was unveiled at the finale of Design Indaba Conference 2017 by its creators Snøhetta co-founder Craig Dykers and Johannesburg-based architect Thomas Chapman.

Craig Dykers and Thomas Chapman discuss the Arch for Arch from Design Indaba

The unveiling of Arch for Arch in Johannesburg on Sunday celebrated the signing of the South African Constitution by former president Nelson Mandela on December 10, 1996.

"It is a living, breathing museum where the past, present and future collide in a glorious paradox that celebrates the victory of our present-day democracy," said Constitution Hill chief executive Dawn Robertson, adding, "it leaves you forever changed with the unrelenting resolve that 'never again must one human being treat another human being in this manner'."