Client: Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality
Location: New Brighton, Port Elizabeth
The new buildings are clustered at the intersection of Olaf Palme Avenue and Avenue ‘C,’ diagonally opposite the new Red Location Museum.
The art gallery will host local exhibitions of township art and will also accommodate a permanent collection of Eastern Cape struggle art, which will be shared with the Nelson Mandela Art Gallery.
Large rectangular south light scoops structure the internal gallery spaces. The gallery makes a “U” shaped entrance courtyard, in which an original corrugated iron bungalow from 1902 is located. The front face of the gallery is inflected at 45º to the corner and a huge shop front window acts as a lens through which the public can view the inside of the gallery.
The library comprises a digital library and internet café computer school. The saw tooth roof admits south light and is carefully modulated to exclude any direct light. The floor of the library is landscaped to create a series of rooms within rooms.
The archive is attached to the library and will house the archives of the main city library, as well as the library’s collection of struggle literature. The archive will form an important part of the museum’s programme of research.
The double-storey archive library has been designed as a timber-box-like form which lies parallel to the adjoining road. The idea is that the building will evoke memories and associations with the ark, timber caskets and treasure chests. The external treatment of the buildings seeks to emphasize these connections.