The Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art(Zeitz MOCAA) will officially open its doors to the public on the 22nd of September and we got the opportunity to exclusively preview the museum before the opening and find out about how the design of the breathtaking structure came about.


1.The MOCAA is South Africa’s biggest museum and is the first of its kind.

It is the first and only non-profit museum that is solely dedicated to permanently exhibiting contemporary art from Africa and the Diaspora.

2. Located in the Silo District

The structure that is now the Zeitz Museum and Silo Hotel used to be home to the tall grain Silos that were used up until 2001. The silos were used to store maize and export it overseas.

3. Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio modeled the inside atrium after a grain of corn

Renowned architect, Thomas Heatherwick transformed the 116 unused tubes of the Silo into what it is now. The inside was modeled out of an actual grain of corn that was digitally scanned and used to create the frame that one can see from the museum’s atrium.

4. The Museum is a collaboration between the V & A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz

The museum was established by a partnership by the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz in 2013  and Mark Coetzee enlisted as the Executive Director and Chief Curator.

5. There are over 100 galleries

The mammoth museum will permanently house 21st-century art throughout the 100 galleries which will consist of solo exhibitions and group exhibitions.


Be on the look-out next month for our exclusive Elle Decoration interview with the curators and artists.

For ticket information visit


  1. Hi Palesa,
    Thank you for this article. Just a few points.
    Heatherwick himself is a designer not an architect. His studios employ architects. The design of the Zeitz MOCAA was of Heatherwick studios, yes, but during the design phase, they drew from the expertise of David Worth, whose extensive knowledge of the building formed the basis of the conservation and design limitations of the building. For example. The building could not be made to ” float” as was first suggested by the designers, because that would have affected it’s historical significance. The excellent result was achieved from a collaboration between Heatherwick studios, and David Worth. David Worth was working on that job through Nicolas Bauman. So for the press to say that the design is only Heatherwick is questionable. Heatherwick studios didn’t know the building and it’s significance that intimately to pull it off to this extent. We need to give South Africans who create our own history their due.

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