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Catholic Cathedral
Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng

Brendan Joseph CLINCH: Architect
KALLENBACH, KENNEDY and FURNER: Associate Architects

Type:Roman Catholic Church
Street:Bosman/Skinner Sts


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25°45'05.38" S 28°11'08.84" E Alt: 1355m

(SAB Feb 1934:33-5)

THE church is built on the plan of the Latin cross, and its position takes advantage of the natural contours of the ground, thereby raising the facade and giving added dignity. The absence of the aisles brings the side altars into the nave of the church, which is of a greater width than usual. This simple form of plan is more economical than early Gothic plans, and justification for this break with tradition is claimed on economic basis.

Both externally and internally it is constructed of Concrete blocks. These blocks are not artificial stone, although they resemble stone to a remarkable degree. The outside blocks are composed of a natural green marble and natural cement, and the inside blocks form natural red sand and natural cement. No oxides or artificial colouring matter whatsoever have been used.

The facade has twin towers, which give solidity and dignity the side is divided into eight bays, marked off by buttresses which take up the truss oi the roof. The interior is lined with simple shafts, these shafts being crowned by moulded capitals frotn which the main ribs rise and spread, forming a traceried spandril ; they are intersected by smaller cross ribs which form coffers, the inside of these coffers being filled with a highly absorbent acoustic board.

The twin towers are not wholly ornamental in purpose; the one forms the belfry, while the other houses the extract fan, by which a constant supply of fresh air is drawn into the church.

The stained glass windows were made by Herbert Evans and Co.

(Cumming-George 1934:32)

"From a birds-eye-view, one can see that the Cathedral was built on the plan of a Latin cross.

The shapes of the windows give the impression of the Gothic style, whereas the buttresses and door arches give the impression of Norman features of the Romanesque style, implying the building is a mixture of the two.

Twin truncated towers stand tall on the sides of the cathedral giving the facade a sense of balance and solidity. Aligned on the sides of the cathedral is eight buttresses that stretch from the ground up to the roof truss.

At first glance, the cathedral seems to be built out of sandstone like material but upon closer inspection, one can observe that the exterior, as well as the interior, has been constructed out of concrete.

Built on the interior walls are column-like posts on which the ribs and spandrels of the roof are rested. Between each of these main ribs are smaller ribs, recessed to create coffers.

At the front of the Nave is the entrance to the sanctuary (where only the priest is allowed). This is also where the Altar is located. To the sides of the sanctuary are two side altars built into the walls of the same material, each one between two ornamental columns and under a stone canopy. One representing Mary and the other Joseph.

Fourteen stained-glass windows line the walls of this cathedral. Six placed on each side of the nave, one large window above the sanctuary, and another large window above the main entrance. Each window illustrating or depicting scenes from the gospel with red and yellow as the colours most often used." Divan van der Merwe, July 2021

Books that reference Catholic Cathedral

Cumming-George, L. 1934. Architecture in South Africa - Volume Two. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pg 32