The University of the Free State approached us to design a new main entrance gate for the Qwa-Qwa Campus of the university in the eastern Free State.

Conceptually, our approach was guided by our view of its function on the following levels:

• To identify, mark and celebrate the Qwa-Qwa Campus of the University of the Free State.

• It should also serve to organize and focus the modes of transport arriving and departing from the campus.

• It should act as a security checkpoint regulating access and egress from the campus.

• It should facilitate and be responsive to the needs of students that are mainly reliant on public transport.

In order to achieve this, the gate house structure would have to symbolize and project the identity and aspirations of the institution.

The natural landscape is dramatic with sandstone mountains and vegetation in shades of ochre and yellow. The urban landscape reflects the low level of economic activity.

Housing is rudimentary and generally there are few developments, structures or institutions that could serve to elevate the urban landscape from its monotony. The campus as a physical place could do much to enhance the town and its image, especially as the university is situated on one of the main access routes into Phuthaditjhaba.

Students arrive mostly by taxi, a certain number by bus, and smaller numbers on foot or by means of private vehicles. Provision was made to accommodate all the aforementioned means of transport.

It was envisaged that the main gate would take the form of a linear building that would assist in anchoring and underscoring the entrance to the campus.