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Desmond Tutu's Commemorative Arch

Desmond Tutu's Commemorative Arch

Snøhetta designed a commemorative arch for human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu. "An Arch for The Arch" was revealed at the 2017 Design Indaba conference to Archbishop Tutu, who is affectionately called "The Arch" by fellow South Africans.

Once completed, the Arch will be situated at the intersection of Adderley Street and Wale Street at the northern end of Cape Town’s cultural precinct known as The Company’s Garden, between St. George’s Cathedral, where Tutu served as Archbishop, and the National Parliament. 

In late 2017, the first Arch revealed at Design Indaba will take its permanent location in Johannesburg at South Africa’s highest judicial court, The Constitutional Court.  The second Arch will take its place in Cape Town, symbolically linking the sites of Parliament and the Constitutional Court with sister Arches of 14 intertwined strands of bent wood, representing the 14 chapters of the South African constitution.  




Design Development


Cape Town, South Africa

The structural properties of an Arch form the core concept for the design.  An arch is supported by opposing forces pushing against one another and held together by a keystone. As a metaphor for the integrity of the country’s democracy, the Arch’s conceptual keystone is the Constitution of South Africa. The form embodies the importance of the Constitution to the legitimacy of its democracy.