Sir Herbert Baker was appointed as the architect of this 275m long building and had it built in the English monumental style from light sandstone.
Meintjies Kop was chosen as the site for his design which was inspired by the Acropolis of Athens. This site was a disused quarry and the existing excavations were used to create the amphitheatre.
The design consisted of two identical wings, joined by a semicircular colonnade forming the backdrop of the amphitheatre. The colonnade was terminated on either side by a tower.
Each wing had a basement and three floors above ground. The interiors were created in the Cape Dutch Style with carved teak fanlights, heavy doors, dark ceiling beams contrasting with white plaster walls and heavy wood furniture.
Baker used indigenous materials as far as possible. The granite was quarried on site while Buiskop sandstone was used for the courtyards. Stinkwood and Rhodesian teak were used for timber and wood panelling. The roof tiles and quarry tiles for the floors were made in Vereeniging.
The Union Buildings, which was completed in 1913, has an illustrious past, being built to commemorate the unification of South Africa under British rule. The two wings at the sides represent the Boerish (Afrikaans) and the English part of the population. Pretoria; Gauteng
Paul Kruger
Sir Herbert Baker
Kruger House Museum; Pretoria Church Square; Pretoria Church Square; Pretoria Station; Voortrekker Monument
Tswaing Meteorite Crater
The Union Buildings name comes from the time of the Union of South African, which was only changed in 1961 to the current name, the Republic of South Africa.
Andries Francois du Toit (1813-1883) was the original owner of the land on which the Union Buildings were built. He was also Pretoria’s first magistrate and was responsible for the layout of the city. He sold his land, called Arcadia, to Stephanus Jacobus Meintjies (1819-1887), after whom the hill is named.
Pretoria Station, South Africa House in London’s Trafalgar Square and Rhodes House in Oxford were also designed by Herbert Baker, as well as numerous houses in the Johannesburg suburb of Park Town.
In May 1994 the Union Buildings were chosen as the place where South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela, was inaugurated.

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