The building, a declared National Monument or Heritage Landmark, houses the Law Library of the university. Increasing student numbers caused the library to be inadequate to serve the needs of the students. The two courtyards in Howard College are surrounded by walkways on three sides with the Howard College theatre in the central space. The walkways are bounded on the ground floor by arches supported by Tuscan Doric columns and piers with ziggurat details on the first floor. The decision to enclose the north courtyard was a controversial one and led to numerous meetings and consultations with Amafa aKwaZulu-Natali. The design was eventually accepted on the sixth submission!
The final solution enclosed the volume of the courtyard. The ICOMOS Burra Charter Principles of Intervention were followed; the intervention had to be seen as new and could be removed at a future date. The roof structure was seen as a separate element, engaging with the existing building with a minimal line of glazing. Thus the roof appears to 'float' above the courtyard, supported by four steel columns. These columns at their head have three 'branches', two supporting the roof structure and the third collecting the rain water in place of the previous rain water heads. The double volume space has allowed the creation of a mezzanine level to house the reference library on the ground floor and LAN workstations above this.
The arches on the west facade of the library have been glazed to separate the library from the Campus Law Clinic. The glass has been sand blasted to record a section of Nelson Mandela's Inaugural Address and a section from the Preamble to the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.