Durban's uMkhumbane Museum has won Africa's first architecture award
Durban's uMkhumbane Museum has won Africa's first architecture award

Durban heritage museum wins first Africa Architecture Awards

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Sep 29, 2017

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Durban - The city’s R80 million uMkhumbane Cultural and Heritage Museum, built in Cato Manor to celebrate Zulu heritage, has won the first Africa Architecture Awards.
Built in 2016 and designed by Choromanski Architects it won the $10 000 (R135 000) prize at the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town last night.

The awards recognise projects from around the continent and celebrate design excellence, honor established architects and encourage emerging designers. A total of 307 entries were received with 139 submissions in the “built” category. The winners were chosen by a jury of leading African architects and academics. They are sponsored by construction materials giant Saint-Gobain.

eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede welcomed the news. “This project has not only revived the Cato Manor area, but it has also helped preserve our rich heritage and boost tourism in the city. Importantly, it has created jobs,” she said, adding that the museum is in line with the city’s green strategy. 

The cultural and heritage museum, once completed, will include a heritage center, a forced removal museum, a memorial of Queen Thomozile, the mother of King Goodwill Zwelithini, as well as the Cato Manor Freedom Park. 

Head of Parks Recreation and Culture Unit Thembinkosi Ngcobo said: “Before the museum was built, we sat down with the service providers and we told them that we wanted it to be the best in the world. We also told them to use some of the world’s best museums to benchmark and that the design must be a combination of both African and modern design.” 

eThekwini Municipality identified Cato Manor as an ideal location to develop the “uMkhumbane Museum ”, to preserve the rich cultural and political history and stimulate innovation. It provides the opportunity for contemporary culture and powerful heritage to converge, serving as a tool for social, economic and ecological regeneration. As part of a broader urban strategy, the site seeks to activate and network various cultural nodes within the community of Cato Manor through community involvement, local artists and leaders, he said.

Saint-Gobain retail division MD Evan Lockhart-Barker said: “Although this is only the first edition of the Africa Architecture Awards‚ we believe we have captured an incredible moment in time for Pan-African architecture. We’ve seen the incredible response from architects working across the continent. The values and aspirations displayed in the awards have led to incredible insights about the continent and its shape-shifting ways.”

The Independent on Saturday

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