Laboria House, 215 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria City Centre, Tshwane

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Date of origin
Unknown. Prior to 1943
Previous names
Previously two buildings; Labour Department and Juvenile Affairs Board (1943)
Pretoria City Centre
215 Francis Baard (formerly Schoeman) Street
Magisterial district
South Africa
GPS coordinates
25o 44' 59" S  28o 11' 20" E
Planning authority name
City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality
Department of Public Works
Project architect/Designer
Commissioning owner
South African Government
Current owner
South African Government
Current occupant
Department of Labour
Previous uses

Labour Department

Juvenile Affairs Board

Current use
South African Department of Labour Head Office
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[edit] Significance

The Laboria House or Laboriagebou is the head office for the South African Department of Labour; it is situated on the corner of Paul Kruger Street and Schoeman Street in the Pretoria CBD. The building previously housed both the Department of Labour and the Juvenile Affairs Board but now only houses the Department of Labour. (Rand Pretoria Directory 1943)

[edit] Current known heritage status

Subject to Section 34 of the NHRA (25 of 1999) because the building is older than 60 years.

[edit] Known interested and affected parties

[edit] History

No information could be found in the South African National Archives, the Sammy Marks Library, the Merensky Library, the Pretoria Institute of Architects, the Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria or the Internet, on the Laboria House prior to 1943. However in 1943, the building was not as it is today, it was two separate buildings; one being the Labour Department and the other being the Juvenile Affairs Board. In 1949, the Juvenile Affairs Board building was vacated and the department relocated. In 1956, the two buildings were joined and became what is today known as the Department of Labour. (Rand Pretoria Directory 1943)

[edit] Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces

The Laboria House is a very large building comprising of two sections joined by two courtyards and walkways connecting both sections which can only be accessed on certain floors. It is a red facebrick building with white steel window frames and grey granite porticos at both entrances which are situated on either side of the building, one in Paul Kruger Street; the other in Schoeman Street. The building’s base is surrounded is surrounded by a grey granite plinth above which is the red facebrick.

The grey granite portico on Paul Kruger street is supported by eight Romanesque columns and has three granite etchings above the doors, each representing a critical part of the labour industry; Agriculture, Mining and Steelwork. The grey granite portico on Schoeman Street has a flight of granite stairs leading up to the doors as well as a wheelchair ramp. Above this entrance are fifteen concrete friezes, the centre frieze displaying South Africa’s previous coat of arms.

All six storeys contain the original teak hardwood doors, doorframes and window frames both on the interior and exterior of the building. (de Villiers 2010) The windows are small pane, side hung windows with brick-on-edge window sills covered by clay tiles. The windows are recessed with large brick-on-edge lintels. At the top of the building there are recessed Romanesque baluster embellishments. Architraves surround stone window balconies and the flat roof is situated behind the entablature which is plastered. (LE ROUX 1990)

The courtyards are laid with slate tiles and the wall finished with the same red facebrick, the services run on the outside of the building facing the interior courtyards. Drainage systems surround the interior courtyard spaces and allow water to drain away from the building.

The interior of the building is clad with different types of granite. The walls are clad with grey/red granite and the floors which contain patterns are designed to represent the many cultures in South Africa, each pattern relating to a South African tribe.

[edit] Links

None (information was only obtained from books and oral sources)

[edit] Sources

1. LE ROUX, S. 1990. Plekke and Geboue van Pretoria. Vol 1.

PAV Lystingskomitee.

2. ANDREWS, T.E. 1985. A walking tour through Pretoria’s Historical Past. Paul Kruger Street South from Church Square. pg 6

3. 1943. Rand Pretoria Directory.

Cape Town: Cape Times Limited.

4. FISHER, R.C. 1992. Visual Lexicon of the South African Dwelling. 1st ed.

Cape: CTP Book Printers.

5. GROBBELAAR, A. 1993. Building Constructiona dn Graphic Standards. 1st ed.

The Natal Witness Printing and Publishing Company (Pty) Ltd.

6. Mr Francois de Villiers. Head of Communication of the Department of Labour. 17 August 2010.

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