• Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

Architects: Heatherwick Studios  
Location: V&A Waterfront, Capetown,  South Africa
Project Team: Van Der Merwe Miszewski (VDMMA), Rick Brown Associates (RBA) and Jacobs Parker
Interior Décor: Jacobs Parker
Project Year: 2016
Photographer: Heatherwick Studios
Website: www.heatherwick.com

"How do you turn forty-two vertical concrete tubes into a place to experience contemporary culture?"
Thomas Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick's new MOCAA establishment in Capetown is almost nearing completion, and the building takes over from what was once one of the tallest building on the Capetown Skyline.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

Poised to hold one of the most analytic and comprehensive African art collections in the world, the project seeks to give Africa one of its major institutions of African art. Heatherwick tries to mimic the chest puffing and chest thumping ideas that the rest of the art capitals of the world have been known for.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

He calls this the Bilbao of South Africa. The project, with a modest budget, perhaps from the fact that is being funded by personal collectors and developers, sort to manifest that within the entire design. The museum draws form a public space point of departure, a main spatial disposition that allows you to explore all other spaces from that. The concrete as part of the existing building, a sort of blue stony feel, will be re exposed and maintained.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

From the Architect:
How do you turn forty-two vertical concrete tubes into a place to experience contemporary culture?
The brief was to reinvent the historic Grain Silo at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, as a not-for-profit cultural institution housing the most significant collection of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

Our first thoughts wrestled with the extraordinary physical facts of the building. There is no large open space within the densely packed tubes and it is not possible to experience these volumes from inside. Rather than strip out the evidence of the building’s industrial heritage, we wanted to find a way to celebrate it. We could either fight a building made of concrete tubes or enjoy its tube-iness.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

Unlike many conversions of historic buildings which have grand spaces ready to be re-purposed, this building has none. The project became about imagining an interior carved from within an infrastructural object. The solution we developed was to carve galleries and a central circulation space from the silos’ cellular concrete structure, creating a cathedral-like central atrium filled with light from a glass roof.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

The other silo bins will be carved away above ground level to create gallery spaces for the Zeitz MOCAA permanent collection and international travelling exhibitions.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa MOCAA / Heatherwick Studios

From the outside, the greatest visible change to the Silo’s monumental structure will be the addition of pillowed glazing panels, inserted into the existing geometry of the upper floors, which will bulge outward as if gently inflated. By night, this will transform the building into a glowing lantern or beacon in the harbour

      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM
      • archiDATUM

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • If you want your own avatar and keep track of your discussions with the community, sign up to

SELECTED WORKS

  • Traditional Tunisian domestic architecture consists of one- or two-level houses arranged around courtyards or patios. To achieve a contem...

  • The Villa Z is a product of very strict city regulations, ones that ultimately confined the building into a 15m distance in a tight squar...

  • The Nubian Museum celebrates the culture and civilization of the Nubian region of Egypt from prehistoric times to the present. It is loca...

CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN DIRECTORY