Administration Building (Hatfield Campus, University of Pretoria)
The building shows traces of Neo-Brutalism and is shaped like a ship – hence the student nickname of Die Skip (The Ship). The north-western façade of the building comprises an intricate relief mural which adds texture to the otherwise unadorned concrete wall.
 Current known heritage status
 Possible interested and affected parties
- University of Pretoria.
- Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria.
- Pretoria Institute for Architecture.
In 1965 it was decided to construct a new administration building and UP alumnus Brian Sandrock was commissioned to do the design. He designed an interesting three-cornered, star-shaped building which was completed in 1968. By 1973 additional office space was required and Sandrock was again commissioned to design a wing to the east of the building. Construction on this wing began in 1979 and was completed in 1986. The wing includes the offices of the Principal, Council Chambers and the Senate Hall. Sandrock later commented that there was no symbolism behind the design and that it was simply the result of doodling in plaster of Paris late at night while he worked on the model of the building.
 Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces
The site elicited a delta-form plan, with a windowless ‘prow’ projecting out towards the junctions of Lynnwood and University Roads. Through the heart of the delta a double-volume hall rises, where students conduct their administrative affairs. This is light-filled, with finely-detailed counters and fittings, and rough-hewn quartzite floor tiling - one of Sandrock’s more successful spatial inventions (and possibly a tribute to Alewyn Burger, then head of the School of Architecture, who was project architect). A spiral stair coils up at the prow, grandly conceived but lost in the tight space, leading up into the remote and sombre halls of the rectorate. The whole speaks of another time and another order.
The office accommodation soon proved inadequate as the bureaucracy burgeoned, and the office wing was extended to the east, compounding the labyrinthine extent of passages. The northern façade shows the concern with sun penetration, which is a trademark of Pretoria architecture: deep-set windows with brise-soleil devices, in this case a set of suspended horizontal louvers. In the south the banded windows are flush with the façade and take the corner to emphasize the structural daring of suspended concrete spandrel bands.
As with most buildings in this climate conducive to lush growth, the starkness of the block has been softened by trees, shrubs and creepers. But it still declares its status, announcing that design and control have captured even this remote corner of the campus that was once little more than a dumping site.
- Administration Building collection on UPSpace
- Administration Building Sketchup model
- Campus Building Guide
- Chapter about New Brutalism and the Administration Building
- Fisher, R.C. 2008. The Native Heart: The Architecture of the University of Pretoria Campus. Pretoria: UPSpace
- University of Pretoria. 2008. Campus Building Guide. Pretoria: UPSpace