Baxter Theatre (addition)

Name Baxter Theatre (addition)
Client University of Cape Town
Location Rondebosch, Cape Town
Status Unbuilt, 2002

This project presents unusual challenges since the original building was designed by one of South Africa’s most prominent modern architects, Roelof Uytenbogaardt.

Although the building is not protected at present by heritage legislation, it was decided at the outset that the extension should honour the memory of the architect in the best way possible. It is not often in South Africa that modern buildings are treated with the same care that is extended to older heritage structures. The architects relished the challenge of tackling a modern building with the same care that would normally be required by heritage legislation for much older listed buildings.

Essentially the extensions required the addition of another floor on top of the existing sport center.

After extensive studies and research, it was decided to extend the new roof in a similar fashion to the main roof over the stadium but to change the profile of the roof section for both practical and climatic reasons.

The exiting wall is replaced by a wall made of specially-made breeze blocks, behind which the new gym and offices are located.

The main architectural idea was to open up the back of the building to the campus and to bring a measure of both light and activity to that face of the building. This is difficult since the orientation is west. However the breeze block has provided a perfect foil for sun control and at the same striking a horizontal line to mimic the line of brickwork that existed previously.

A large double volume entrance foyer is located at the apex of the plan and opens onto the campus, providing a new focal point for the campus to the east.

The materials chosen are similar to the existing building.

It is hoped that the changes to the building will be of such a nature that the original design intention of the architect will be enhanced rather than diminished.