ZeitzMOCAA

A towering triumph for African culture

Turning concrete towers into the world’s largest museum of art from the African continent and its diaspora so that histories and cultures collide in perfect harmony.

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ZeitzMOCAA Project summary

Client

V&A Waterfront Holdings

Key partners

Thomas Heatherwick

Services provided

Cost consultancy

Sectors

Arts and culture

Locations

South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa

Project timeline

Start date
2013
End date
September 2017
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Project story

Central to Cape Town’s 300-acre harbour development stood the Silo District’s biggest challenge – a cluster of 42 concrete maize storage cylinders. Rather than demolish the 33-metre high tubes, we assisted London-based architect firm, Heatherwick Studios, in the challenge of re-purposing the historical structure, turning it into a striking art centre that pays homage to its surroundings.


As project manager and contract administrator for the ambitious scheme, we worked closely with the entire project team to stabilise the 1920s ducts before carving out the centre to deliver a museum that features 9,500 square metres of custom-designed space spread over nine floors.

Boasting cylindrical concrete walls and vast stature, the rawness and grandeur of the building fully supports the expressive significance of the art housed within.

The 6,000 square metre exhibition space houses more than 100 galleries, a rooftop sculpture garden, state-of-the-art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant and bar, and reading rooms. The unique building, with its cathedral-like atrium has completed the transformation of the Silo District. 

“I'm so proud of the result - it's a beautiful building that I'm sure will become an iconic symbol of contemporary African culture.”

stats

42 concrete tubes make up the main hall
6.5ksq ft gallery space
100+ galleries

points of note

A lasting relationship

Over six years Mace redeveloped South Africa’s oldest working harbour, transforming the landscape and creating a cultural and historical hub in Cape Town that now attracts 23 million visitors each year.

Innovation at its best

The safe creation of a new cathedral-like space within the original grain silo required new techniques and processes. At times, the site resembled an archaeological mining site as we safely navigated through the tunnels and tubes, managing concurrent ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ demolition works alongside the new construction works.