Winner of a continent-wide architectural competition for the design of the Pan-African Parliament (April 2007)
client Department of Foreign Affairs + Department of Public Works
location Midrand, Gauteng
earthlab architects – joint venture (local architects)
Rod Choromanski (team leader)
African architects were invited to submit entries for the parliament proposal. Over 55 entries from 16 countries comprised the first stage selection from which only 5 were invited to enter stage 2.
a continent of contrasts: African Identity as generator
Indigenous knowledge, inherited through life patterns, myths, culture, customs and beliefs, is still significantly evident and relevant today, which form guidelines to the development.
The building for the new Pan African Parliament will embody all the attributes of Africa including the contrasts of: Darkness and Light, Construction and Space, Solidity and Transparency A constructed chasm of space illustrates the intangible aspect of Africa’s Memory. This special experience is intended to remind the viewer of the history of the continent serving to ensure that peaceful and meaningful dialogue and decisions are made.
Glazed and timber facades embrace the building in a linear form within the landscape. The building terraces down the site, cutting a path in an East/West direction. At night, the building appears as a horizontal shaft of light. Etched texts of the Parliaments Manifesto will cover the entire glass screen wall in all the languages of Africa.
The chamber, housed in a glass cylinder and enclosed in a protective double timber screen is the focus along the backdrop of the linear glazed southern façade.