The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) was unveiled today ahead of its opening on 22 September 2017. Developed by designers at the world-renowned Heatherwick Studio, it is the world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa. Boasting 6,000 sq metres of exhibition space, the museum is set in 9,500 sq metres of custom designed space, spread over nine floors and carved out of the monumental structure of the historic Grain Silo Complex. Included in this are “80 gallery spaces, a rooftop sculpture garden, state of the art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant, bar and reading rooms.”
The gallery and atrium space at the centre of the museum have been carved from the silo’s previous structure of forty-two tubes that pack the building. Thomas Heatherwick, when asked about the huge undertaking said: “The technical challenge was to find a way to carve out spaces and galleries from the ten-storey high tubular honeycomb without completely destroying the authenticity of the original building. The result was a design and construction process that was as much about inventing new forms of surveying, structural support and sculpting, as it was about normal construction techniques.”
Having first been announced in November 2013, the museum is a partnership between the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz, as a non-for profit cultural institution in one of the most visited cultural and historical hubs in Africa.
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