Original Research

The idealism of architectural competitions: The case of the Free State Province

Walter Peters, J. L. (Kobus) du Preez
New Contree | Vol 76 | a138 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/nc.v76i0.138 | © 2023 Walter Peters, J. L. (Kobus) du Preez | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2023 | Published: 30 November 2016

About the author(s)

Walter Peters, Department of Architecture, University of the Free State, South Africa
J. L. (Kobus) du Preez, Department of Architecture, University of the Free State, South Africa

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Procuring designs by way of competitions is a well-established practice of both public and private clients. The territory that now encompasses the Free State Province has seen this method being applied nineteen times in its history; fourteen for buildings or projects, three for monuments of commemoration; and two for ideas competitions. It is interesting to note that ten of the competitions served to define the noble street of the capital, President Brand Street and its immediate surrounds, and that landscaped solutions for monuments were early on considered an appropriate form of commemoration. Yet, competitions remain an idealism often associated with inconvenience or changes, of which the Free State Province has witnessed its share. They are costly to stage and enter and the quality of the jury is crucial for the outcomes. As entries are anonymous, some competitions were won by distinguished architects who might otherwise never have built in the Free State Province. However, winning designs may not necessarily always result in the best building, but they certainly indicate the paradigm of the era and in that sense can serve as architectural barometers.


Architectural competitions; Idealism; Landscapes of commemoration; Free State Province; President Brand Street; Bloemfontein


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