Exploring the importance of the creation of the cognitive image through architecture towards a new police headquarters for Durban.
Civic institutions such as the Police, the Judiciary and Governmental organizations rely heavily on a positive public perception in order to create a successful symbiotic working relationship. Although the public perception of these various institutions is often based on their actual performance and objectives within the public realm, the cognitive image which the public has of an institution is based on a variety of factors. The architecture which houses these institutions provides one of the primary valuable platforms to engage with the public and to express the vision and ideals of these institutions. It is thus important to understand the potential of architecture to shape a public perception or cognitive image. This paper seeks to understand how this can be achieved through the physical and emotional influences of the built form as well as to understand the role of society in shaping these perceptions. In South Africa, where a new democratic society has emerged, the re-imagination of civic institutions and their architecture to form a new cognitive image finds relevance.