Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu honoured with Arch for Arch

Image credit: David Southwood

In South Africa, set between the National Parliament and St. George’s Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Cape Town and where Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to hold numerous anti-Apartheid protests, the Arch for Arch is an intertwined wooden archway erected in the honour of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Designed by Snøhetta and Local Studio, which is based in Johannesburg in collaboration with Design Indaba and Hatch engineers, 14 interwoven strands of Larch wood make up the Arch for Arch, representing South Africa’s 14 constitution chapters.

Built out of wood, an unusual material for a monument, which are typically constructed out of concrete or stone, Arch for Arch stands at nearly nine metres tall uses structure to metaphorically describe strength and integrity, according to ArchDaily, and allows visitors to pass under its arches while remembering the location’s notable role in the history of the nation.

Image credit: David Southwood

“A traditional arch is supported by opposing forces pushing against one another, held together by a keystone. These structural properties emerged as a core concept for the design, where the Arch stands as a metaphor for the integrity of the country’s democracy whose conceptual keystone is the Constitution of South Africa,” Snøhetta explained to ArchDaily. “Together, the arching wooden elements inscribe a globe, celebrating Archbishop Tutu’s role as a unifying figure for the international peace movement.”

The Siberian larch wood chosen for the structure is both weather-resistant and highly durable, allowing the Arch to gracefully age as its warmth encourages visitors to interact with the structure and each other in a friendlier way.

Image credit: Design Indaba

Arch for Arch was unveiled for the first time on the 7th of October 2017, Archbishop Tutu’s 86th birthday.