Original Spatial Qualities and Innovative Technologies in a Former Grain Silos

Heatherwick Studio

With the project for the Zeitz MOCAA Heatherwick Studio accepted and won the challenge presented by reimagining a monumental industrial structure constructed in the 1920s and decommissioned in 1990. The project literally carved the spaces required into the existing silos, creating unprecedented forms from a quasi-monolithic structure. The most suggestive intervention is that to carve out an atrium that replicates the form of a kernel of corn, scaled to 27 metres in height. It becomes the iconic formal matrix of the carving, made possible using digital technologies projected onto the silos and physically traced into the concrete walls. The spatial refurbishment triggered at the Grain Silo Complex appears fully aligned with other renewal projects in the harbour area of Cape Town. Made possible by innovative surveying and structural reinforcement technologies, the project is well integrated within a context of a cultural transformation that it has also come to symbolise.

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