Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre

Posted on February 18, 2010


My faith has been renewed. Peter Rich’s Interpretation Centre in Mapungubwe is ray of light amidst a gloomy haze of substance lacking, globally styled Architecture.

The masterly conceived cultural centre is built on a site of great local, cultural and historical significance, knowledge that is both respected and celebrated by the scheme.

For me, this is a building of the future. It’s a project that has involved the vernacular and the traditional methods of the locale and integrated them into the design process as genuine influences, not simply bolted them on. Not to mention that I see these aspects as integrally linked to true sustainable design. The design is fresh and the Architects have clearly implemented contemporary knowledge and techniques, which are also essential for moving forward.

The involvement of light around the site demonstrates a successful collaboration of these knowledge sets. Tree stalks break up the sun, providing valuable shade and conjuring images of traditional meeting places in nearby villages of both present day and centuries past. In a cave like vault the sun enters via a fissure in the ceiling, moving throughout the space over the course of the day. Involving the geology and nature of the site the centre is at once grounded and animated.

This contribution from Peter Rich Architects is just that, a contribution, one that I think it is intelligent, sensitive and designed to last.

Images taken from Architectural Review 1354 & 1356