Completion Date: May 2017


ZEITZ MOCAA, Cape town, South Africa
V&A Waterfront & Heatherwick Studio

The Grain Silo Project was initiated by the V&A Waterfront for the purpose of reimagining the historic Grain Silo Complex with an architectural intervention inspired by its own historic character, the centerpiece being the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA).

The original Grain Silo Complex consisted of two primary structures, the Elevator Tower and the Storage Annex. The original structure of the Storage Annex was a bundled matrix of 28m high cylindrical silos with smaller interstitial star shaped silos in the spaces in between. The structural integrity of these silos was in its tubular matrix form, with the only steel reinforcement being found in the horizontal plane. The lower levels of the Elevator Tower were similarly formed from concrete, but creating square and rectangular storage bins.

In contrast, the top floors of the original Elevator Tower comprised of a steel framed rectilinear building with minimally reinforced concrete used to encase the perimeter steel frame, primarily protecting it from corrosion.

To enable the removal of over 70% of the original Storage Annex and 50% of the Elevator Tower whilst maintaining the structural integrity of the overall building, an entirely new reinforced concrete structure had to be built inside the old. This new primary structure was required to enable the new structural loads to be adequately redistributed whilst retaining the form of the original buildings.

The eastern half of the Storage Annex was hollowed out entirely to make room for the construction of the new gallery spaces. The western half of the Storage Annex was resleeved to create the composite arch structure that forms the atrium. This full height void is the single grand architectural gesture that symbolises the history of the building and ties the Storage Annex into the Elevator Tower creating for the first time a single entity.

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