New Parliament Building

Boulevard towards New Parliament Building in Harare New city
Aerial view of new parliament design by pantic architects with conical forms inspired by Great Zimbabwe ruins
Primary chamber in New Parliament of Zimbabwe, with circular seating arrangement
Aerial view of new parliament design by pantic architects with conical forms inspired by Great Zimbabwe ruins
Modern foyer of Zimbabwe new parliament building on Kopje
Aerial view of new parliament design by pantic architects with conical forms inspired by Great Zimbabwe ruins
Secondary chamber in New Parliament of Zimbabwe, with circular seating arrangement
New Parliament Building of Zimbabwe video animation by Pantic Architects youtube play button
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Type: Government, Institutional
Area: 50.000m2
Completion: 2007

Traditional Planning in Zimbabwe has always been generated on a concentric model. This precedent has been the generative force behind the macrocosm concept for the new parliament buildings. Concentric and radial evolution of the design of the traditional village is captured with the most important and traditionally sacred zone occurring at the epicentre and focal point of the planning.


Traditional village and `city' plans such as Dhlo Dhlo at one end of the scale and Great Zimbabwe at the upper end of the scale were encapsulated in the conceptual design of the Parliament Building. As with traditional planning, the central focal point will be the meeting place or `Chamber of the House'. Hierarchical status is encapsulated in the level of the upper chamber or Senate being placed at a level above that of the Lower House. As with the traditional plan both these chamber are placed where quiet and parliamentary `sanctity' will prevail. It is at the central core of the village planning concept that the important issues of rural life were and are still debated.


Radiating from this core will be the `corridors of power, containing the Committee Rooms, Ministerial Offices, Secretariats and other ancillary offices thereby replicating the stratification of village life where social status from first wife near the centre of the village to `huts of the herd boys' at the outer circumference of the social stratum are located.


Another precedent of traditional planning invoked in the architectural design is the Conical tower as the three dimensional focus to the massing of the design. The replication of the conical tower is used to house the important meeting places of Upper and Lower Houses as well as being the most powerful visual element of the composition. Lesser conical tower replications will emphasise the entrance to the building. The gracious curve of the main entrance to the Great Enclosure at Great Zimbabwe, together with the rising change of level has been evoked in the powerful entry statement conceptualised for the Houses of Parliament. The surrounding wall of the traditional village is captured in the strong enclosure statement of high walls required by the nature of the new site. If the siting of important traditional spaces is analysed, it will be seen that these were positioned on prominent hill tops so the surrounding area is dominated by the strong `habitat ional' presence of the massed structures. The dominance of the Kopje site in the townscape of Harare clearly expresses this link with traditional planning concepts. Access will, through the configuration of the site need to follow a circular route around the complex until the main axial approach is reached at the entrance level to the building: this follows the circular approach to complexes such as Naletale and the Temple Complex of Great Zimbabwe, thereby emphasising the processional and ceremonial aspects of Parliament.


Three dimensional form and use of materials further emphasises the paramount indigenous concepts of the complex. Prestigious local materials such as granite in polished and unpolished forms was proposed. The planting of indigenous trees and shrubs is envisaged to place the building in a totally Zimbabwean setting. Art work and decorative elements were conceptualised to illustrate aspects of Zimbabwean life and culture. All elements were directed to a final overall concept of a truly unique indigenous structure that can be proudly and truly Zimbabwean in every aspect.


The parliament building being built on Mount Hampden is not our design, but seems to have taken great 'inspiration' from it.

Aerial view of new parliament design by pantic architects with conical forms inspired by Great Zimbabwe ruins

New Parliament Building

Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Type: Government, Institutional
Area: 50.000m2
Completion: 2007

Traditional Planning in Zimbabwe has always been generated on a concentric model. This precedent has been the generative force behind the macrocosm concept for the new parliament buildings. Concentric and radial evolution of the design of the traditional village is captured with the most important and traditionally sacred zone occurring at the epicentre and focal point of the planning.


Traditional village and `city' plans such as Dhlo Dhlo at one end of the scale and Great Zimbabwe at the upper end of the scale were encapsulated in the conceptual design of the Parliament Building. As with traditional planning, the central focal point will be the meeting place or `Chamber of the House'. Hierarchical status is encapsulated in the level of the upper chamber or Senate being placed at a level above that of the Lower House. As with the traditional plan both these chamber are placed where quiet and parliamentary `sanctity' will prevail. It is at the central core of the village planning concept that the important issues of rural life were and are still debated.


Radiating from this core will be the `corridors of power, containing the Committee Rooms, Ministerial Offices, Secretariats and other ancillary offices thereby replicating the stratification of village life where social status from first wife near the centre of the village to `huts of the herd boys' at the outer circumference of the social stratum are located.


Another precedent of traditional planning invoked in the architectural design is the Conical tower as the three dimensional focus to the massing of the design. The replication of the conical tower is used to house the important meeting places of Upper and Lower Houses as well as being the most powerful visual element of the composition. Lesser conical tower replications will emphasise the entrance to the building. The gracious curve of the main entrance to the Great Enclosure at Great Zimbabwe, together with the rising change of level has been evoked in the powerful entry statement conceptualised for the Houses of Parliament. The surrounding wall of the traditional village is captured in the strong enclosure statement of high walls required by the nature of the new site. If the siting of important traditional spaces is analysed, it will be seen that these were positioned on prominent hill tops so the surrounding area is dominated by the strong `habitat ional' presence of the massed structures. The dominance of the Kopje site in the townscape of Harare clearly expresses this link with traditional planning concepts. Access will, through the configuration of the site need to follow a circular route around the complex until the main axial approach is reached at the entrance level to the building: this follows the circular approach to complexes such as Naletale and the Temple Complex of Great Zimbabwe, thereby emphasising the processional and ceremonial aspects of Parliament.


Three dimensional form and use of materials further emphasises the paramount indigenous concepts of the complex. Prestigious local materials such as granite in polished and unpolished forms was proposed. The planting of indigenous trees and shrubs is envisaged to place the building in a totally Zimbabwean setting. Art work and decorative elements were conceptualised to illustrate aspects of Zimbabwean life and culture. All elements were directed to a final overall concept of a truly unique indigenous structure that can be proudly and truly Zimbabwean in every aspect.


The parliament building being built on Mount Hampden is not our design, but seems to have taken great 'inspiration' from it.