Details of the architecture at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town
Mark Williams (2)


Cape Town, South Africa

Hailed as “Africa’s answer to the Tate Modern” when it opened last September, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) is the world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, featuring approximately 70,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space and a rooftop sculpture garden. But it’s nearly impossible to take in the artwork—including cowhide sculptures of the female form by South Africa–based artist Nandipha Mntambo and multi­media installations from Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai—without also being wowed by the space, which was until recently a complex of abandoned grain silos. A team of architects led by Heatherwick Studio carved through the 42 100-ft.-tall concrete tubes that comprised the facility’s structure, transforming it into a cathedral­-like space bathed in light from more than 100 faceted glass windows. At Zeitz MOCAA’s opening ceremony, Archbishop Desmond Tutu pretended to take a phone call from heaven, chatting with former President Nelson Mandela. “Yes!” Tutu said Mandela told him. “This is what we were fighting for!” —Kate Rockwood

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