Housed in what was once Cape Town’s tallest building is the newly unveiled Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), created by London-based architect Thomas Heatherwick. The institution’s 80 gallery spaces were converted from 42 historic grain silos, storage units which were once used to hold and grade maize from all over South Africa.
Heatherwick Studio transformed the tightly packed tubes into open areas of contemplation, carving out various oblong shapes to make room for large social spaces and lots of light from overhead windows. Heatherwick wished to clear out large spaces for the galleries, however he was also careful about not eliminating the tubular structure of the building completely.
“We realised we needed to do something that your eye couldn’t instantly predict,” Heatherwick told Dezeen. “Our role was destructing rather than constructing, but trying to destruct with a confidence and an energy, and not treating the building as a shrine.”
The nearly 20,000 square foot museum is one of many facilities that form the V&A Waterfront, a cultural center dotted with several bars and restaurants on the city’s harbor.