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26 Feb 2020

HSRC Building opened 26 Feb 1988

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

On 26 February 1988, FW de Klerk, the then national Minister of Education, officially opened the HSRC building in Pretorius Street, Pretoria.
Designed by Samuel Pauw Architects, the post-modernist building consists of two blocks of 9 and 14 storeys.

The brief was to create individual offices, each with its own window and external wall, so the offices were placed along corridors of almost 90 metres long, forming an H-pattern. To avoid this ‘inhuman infiniteness’, the corridors were curved in soft S-shapes with a contrasting but playful link, the architects later explained.

In 1997, the building was bestowed the Fulton Award for excellence in building structures, which was sponsored by the Concrete Society of South Africa, and the Crystal Award for complexity and uniqueness of design.

Over the years, the building has housed a crèche, gym and cafeteria. Parking space was limited and allocated according to an infamous ‘points system’ based on rank and years of service. Sections have been let to tenants, such as the Department of Social Development.

When he became CEO in 2000, Dr Mark Orkin advocated for open spaces and glass doors to create a sense of openness and light.

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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