The South African High Commission in Lilongwe have just moved into their new building.  Construction took just under 2.5 years.

As an embassy/chancery,  the building had to take into account the high security necessary.  At the same time as a consulate,  it had to interact with the general public.  This was achieved through the use of privacy thresholds.  As one goes deeper into the building, the privacy increases.  The earlier parts of the building try to be as 'friendly' as possible as they interact with the general public. 

The intention was also to embrace and be a positive addition to the Lilongwe environment.  The roof overhangs and deep recessed fit in with the climate.  The use of a similar local facebrick blends it in as a local building, rather than as a foreign intrusion.  With it being lit up from the inside, the building gives something to the cityscape at night. 




The Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature and Government Buildings in Nelspruit was a competition winning entry submitted as part of a consortium (Meyer Pienaar Tayob Schnepel Architects).  From competition submission in late 1997 the project was complete in 2000.

It received numerous merit awards.

competition submission


This project involved the designing of a new generations prison for the Department of Correction Services.  One of the key items of the new generation prison design was to facilitate easy management.  This included restricting the entire facility to a manageable level of 3000 inmates.  The inmates are further subdivided into sectors of 1000 inmates, and then further until they reach units of 10 inmates per holding cell.  The subdivision also allows the prison authorities to group the various classes of inmates.  The manageable units allow for easy management by prison staff, requiring less staff to manage.  It also allows for training of inmates.   The unit allows for educational, vocational and industrial skills workshops. The grouping of inmates into smaller units allowed for the facilities to be designed which were economical in size, which would be used round the clock.

The design philosophy was to keep the facility as simple as possible.  Amongst the differences being to design a facility which relied less on costly electronic surveillance. 


  The firm as lead architect, together with two other firms produced a full set of tender documents which the department has used to erect all around the country.

This is a conversion of the old 1950's Andrew McColm Hospital into a state of the art Forensic Laboratory.

The project covered these issues:

Heritage (the site consisted of a number of buildings, including a 1950's hospital and some early 20th century structures. 

Reuse of old Structures - The original 3 storey structure was designed as a 1950's hospital with wards and operation theaters that was abandoned due to the high and impractical maintenance costs.  The conversion was to a state of the art robotic laboratory that required long spaces and numerous special services.  The design resulted in the entrance moving from the cramped lower ground floor on the south to a high tech and secure entrance to the upper ground floor on the north.



“The World’s Biggest, Single Automated Forensic Analysis System...” Tecan Journal, 2006

"...Hungry for Samples

It's 37m long but only 4 meters wide; its controlled by 27 PCs and includes eight Tecan Freedom EVO Workstations.  It took the project team 23.7 man years to complete, during which time they travelled over 0ne million kilometres and spent 4.5 years away from home.

This is no ordinary laboratory instrument, but the new fully automated genetic sampling system (gaps), a DNA analysis system that was specially commissioned for the Biology Unit of the South African Police Services (SAPS) Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).  The GSPS will be abel to accept in excess of 800 samples for DNA extraction and further downstream processing in a day, significantly improving the speed at which DNA analysis results can be obtained..."



Completed around 1984, the hospital comprises maternity wards, short stay wards, operation theatres, casualty, dental clinic, physiotherapy, ante-natal clinics and dispensary units.