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Vaal University of Technology, Isak Steyl Pavilion
Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng


1995SAIA Award of Merit


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26°42'17.83" S 27°51'36.39" E Alt: 1478m

(addition to existing clubhouse)


The most striking image of this grandstand is its simplicity and elegance. From a distance it appears deceptively small and it is only as one gets closer that one becomes aware of the enormity of the structure. The grandstand is essentially a trussed and tensioned steel structure erected over an existing clubhouse building and has already received a Construction Award by the S A Institute of Steel Construction.

The accommodation includes seating for 2500 people, VIP rooms, broadcast facilities, additional change rooms and storage space. The grandstand consists of fourteen structural steel members each made up of a beam which supports the seating at a 30 degree angle, a vertical column integrated into the existing concrete column module, and trusses which hold up the canopy by being tensioned back through the columns. Despite the enormity of the grandstand the structural elements are simple, clear and easy to read. The steel railings and balustrading have been chosen carefully to complement the main structure and are well detailed and uncluttered. The seats are fixed to precast concrete tiered panels spanning between the steel beams and demonstrate the assembly of the building. The whole erection and assembly process must have been fascinating to watch. The bright red and blue colour scheme stands in contrast to the yellow face brick walls of the clubhouse structure. The integration of new and existing has been well handled and it is hard to tell which is which.

The climb to the top of the grandstand is steep and very high (one assessor had to admit to a case of vertigo!) but the view of events from all the seating is clear and unobstructed.

The building demonstrates the alliance between the arts of architecture and engineering, and the scope for architectural invention even in what is essentially an engineering problem and so is deserving of an 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.

Writings about this entry

Muwanga, Christina. 1998. South Africa : a guide to recent architecture. London : Köln: Ellipsis : Könemann. pg 230-231