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Magistrates Court
Blue Downs, Cape Town, Western Cape

Client:National Department of Public Works
Type:Magistrate's Court
2003SAIA Award of Merit

Award of Merit Citation

Public Works was not only once the client, but also training institution, leader in appropriate styling and technologies and provider of set pieces around which townscapes evolved. One sees in this project all these attributes rediscovered. The designers have responded critically to the brief and within restricted budget and for a conservative client turned architectural devices to good purpose in creating for a yet to emerge community a set piece. If future facilities are of the same high order of design there will be a dignified civic centre. A pity is a lack of funds for addressing the issues of landscape. Even an abstracted landscape of stone would help resolve problems of maintenance – windblown sand is already clogging the gutters and storm-water channels. The project helps lighten – literally and figuratively – the unpleasant business of dealing with the law through carefully orchestrated use of material, clerestory lighting and colour. There is however a robustness in the making which will ensure that the facility serves the purpose of everyday use. The complicated demands on circulation have been cleverly resolved and well integrated into the planning. This project receives a national award of merit.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.