Snøhetta unveil Arch for Arch project at Design Indaba 2017

The Oslo-based architects designed the physical tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Part of the Project

When Craig Dykers, architect and founding partner of the architecture firm, Snøhetta, stepped onto the Design Indaba 2017 stage, he wasn’t just there to talk about the Oslo, Norway, and New York City-based firm’s integrated design practice. Dykers was also present to reveal to the audience the one-to-one prototype of the Arch for Arch.

A commissioned architectural structure, the Arch for Arch is a physical tribute to South Africa’s beloved Archbishop Desmond Tutu and was commissioned by Design Indaba and sponsored by Liberty.

Made from 14 arching strands of wood, the 9-metre high structure will reside outside St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town while a second, smaller structure will be installed at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.

Dykers likened how an arch relies on a keystone to avoid collapse to South Africa’s reliance upon its Constitution. He listed Tutu as one of the country’s most iconic figures in terms for the nation’s fight for equality, before the man himself was welcomed on stage to rapturous applause.

Overwhelmed, the ever-gracious arch told a moved audience just how certain he was that such a tribute – much like his own contribution to the struggle – could never have been done alone. While he was addressing the people of South Africa, his words on stage felt as relevant to the Arch for Arch project as they do the progression of our own democratic society.

“You are not a second hand,” Tutu told the crowd; the unique, artistic tribute visible behind him. “You are not a feeble copy. You are a glorious original.”

Urban designer and Local Studio founder, Thomas Chapman was the supporting architect for the project.