Cape Town’s concrete grain silos to be transformed into contemporary art museum

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014. Filed under: Art Destinations Entertainment
Zeitz MOCAA by Heatherwick Studio ©Heatherwick Studio

Zeitz MOCAA by Heatherwick Studio
©Heatherwick Studio

(Relaxnews) – South Africa is set to get a brand new contemporary art and design center in the form of a reimagined grain silo complex.

The 1921 V&A Waterfront building in Cape Town consists of 42 concrete tubes 33 meters high, which facilitated the collection and storage of the country’s grain until the turn of the millennium. At 57 meters high it was once the tallest building in the city, but the site will now be given a new lease of life as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), in a project led by Heatherwick Studio.

Each of the concrete tubes has a diameter of 5.5 meters, with no open space within. Heatherwick Studio plans to carve a cathedral-like atrium space and gallery with a glass roof from the central space, surrounded by the tubes.

“How do you turn 42 vertical concrete tubes into a place to experience contemporary culture?” said Thomas Heatherwick. “Our thoughts wrestled with the extraordinary physical facts of the building.

Zeitz MOCAA by Heatherwick Studio ©Heatherwick Studio

Zeitz MOCAA by Heatherwick Studio
©Heatherwick Studio

“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 enjoy and celebrate it.

“We could either fight a building made of concrete tubes or enjoy its tubeiness.”

The R500 million ($46.2 million) redevelopment project will showcase the art collection over nine floors. Zeitz MOCAA will have 80 galleries, 18 education areas and a rooftop sculpture garden.

London-based Heatherwick Studio has worked on projects including the UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the London 2012 Olympic Cauldron.

The project is expected to be completed by 2016.


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