If you have been following the buzz leading to the official opening of The Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) then you may have heard the name Thomas Heatherwick, who from 2010 was tasked with the role of lead architect for the first contemporary African art museum situated in Cape Town.
Renowned British designer and architect, Thomas Heathewick of Heatherwick Studio is a true visionary when it comes to creating buildings that speak to the heart of humankind. For Heatherwick, it is important to design timeless buildings which connect people in some way. “My interest is in soulfullness and finding buildings that have life,” said Heatherwick when addressing media before the Zeitz MOCAA opening. His career has spanned 23 years thus far and many have been awe struck by the design brilliance himself and his teams have brought to fruition.
Here are just a few of his remarkable works.
The Bund Finance Centre – Shanghai
Known to always link the past with the present, Heathwerick modelled this building after traditional Chinese theatres and serves as a link to the urban and older parts of the town. This building is used for trade, exhibitions and cultural events and its moveable facade encourages public interaction with the architecture.
UK Pavilion (2010), Shanghai Expo (The Seed Cathedral)
Made of thin transparent acrylic rods which sway depending on the wind’s direction, this structure resembles an almost imaginary creature of sort which branches out from all angles. The seedlike rods are illuminated by sunlight during the day for visitors inside and at night, light sources from the inside illuminate the building. The building’s reference was to the plight fo saving seeds and in it were 250,000 plant seeds at the end of the 60,000 acrylic rods. The building has since been dismantled but it is definitely one that deserves all the critical acclaim.
East Beach Café Sea Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex
Thomas Heatherwick designed this iconic building that sits on the side of an existing seafront kiosk. Thomas and his design team, headed by architect Peter Ayres were tasked to create something that would visually fit in with the beachside but also be a place of refuge. This may be one of the most stylish buildings in the world and the cafe by day, restaurant by night has fared quite well amongst food critics in the restaurant industry, besides its other worldy aesthetic beauty.
The Hive, China.
A learning hub in China made of 56 tutorial rooms connected by rounded corridors and literally looks like a beehive. This building has encouraged people to rethink the way university buildings are created by making them more open, accessible and interactive for both learners and lecturers. The building has 16 entry points and is marked by its textured walls on the interior which Thomas says “affects and fosters emotional connection”.
Coal Drops Yard, London
This retail destination combines the intricacy of architecture with the limitless possibilities of the imagination. The structure houses 65 units of different sizes which combine two historic Victorian structures with a connecting the roof providing a protective fort for the retail space below. This unusual building truly reimagines the modern retail experience is size and shape.