Hofman Architect’s – Cool Capital submission

Capital Compass

The City of Pretoria has a remarkable rich history and deserves to be known by her occupants. The goal of this architectural pavilion is to rediscover and disclose the palimpsest of the past 160 years to Pretorians as well as visitors to the city.

The Pretoria Train Station (1910) is the gateway and confluence of all the local modes of transport as well as the entrance for national visitors. It used to be the primary base of way-finding in Pretoria with the statue of Paul Kruger establishing the reference point in front of the station. The statue was moved in 1954 to its current location at Church Square and left a 60-year old void in its wake.

The pavilion sets out to accentuate this lost connection and to re-establish the Southern node of Paul Kruger Street as an entrance point to the Capital City. This is done by referring back to the spatial function of the original position of the Paul Kruger statue as a vertical point of reference and a directional element. The pavilion aims to translate the historical and spatial significance of this space by proposing a stair tower pavilion structure and slanting the entire structure toward the North as a viewing point. This accentuates the facing direction of the Paul Kruger statue and symbolized its journey to Church Square while facilitating pedestrian movement toward its focal point.


The structure also affirms itself as the main style of a Solar Dial within the urban landscape, thereby symbolizing the passage of time from 1855 to present. At the base of the structure, a patterned floor completes the sundial with its center point at the original position of the Paul Kruger statue. The patterned dials directs the viewer to notable historical beacons with descriptive seating space allowing the design to function as an informative urban square.
The urban square is further defined by a subtle gateway of two heavy steel beams that dive into the landscape axis and re-emerge as a stair pavilion flanked by east and west landscaped avenues. This reflects the historical Tram lines of 1910 along Paul Kruger street and symbolizes the re-connection between Pretoria Station and Church Square.

The urban square forms continuous surface form the Pretoria Station entrance up to the starting point of Paul Kruger street binding Pretoria Station to the urban square as an intricate part of the pavilion design. The design thus evolves into a platform gateway functioning as orientation surface and way-finding space, but with its symbolic connection to the past and its awareness of the future it aims to promote Capital Consciousness. It becomes a space that will direct and inform the pedestrian user, a capital compass that is physically defined but spatial infinite.