MAPUNGUBWE DAY VISITORS CENTRE
Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo, South Africa
Located 800 meters north of the Mapungubwe Interpretation centre this is a place where local chieftains can meet and engage in ritual practice and celebrate their ancestry with their collective constituencies.
Sited on a plateau above a natural amphitheatre meeting and dining facilities for 30 chiefs enjoy wonderful views towards Zimbabwe. Simple linear and L shaped structures enclose a courtyard containing a circular meeting hut and veranda. A simple timber and latte shaded structure ‘Kgotla’ defines the edge of the plateau and functions as a gallery and dining space, elevating the chiefs above the masses. Under the latte canopy sits a roofless sky room, with seating where conversations are held with the ancestors.
L shaped ablution blocks catering for the staff and the public face North, defining a linear stepped street down the hill to the amphitheatre.
Direct community consultation was prohibited to avoid contentious issues with land claims from 17 contesting communities. The architect drew on his extensive knowledge of African vernacular and space making to create poetic spaces, defined by simple rhythms and animated by dancing shadows with the most economic of means.