Union Building, Pretoria, South Africa



1909 - 1913

Designed by Herbert Baker, one of Britain's most famous colonial architects, the Union Building became the seat of South African government after the South African War (1899-1901).

Designed to emulate European classicism, Baker wanted his building to represent the 'attributes of the eternal' - stating that it would embody rational, civilised, colonial government.

The two wings, joined by a curved lobby, are designed to represent the union of two 'races', Afrikaans and English.

For many years the bulk of the government of South Africa was based here. It became a focus of anti-apartheid protest.

Since the advent of majority rule, the building has continued to serve as the president's offices.

Photo: Julia Gallagher

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