zeitz MOCAA
Looking up from the atrium of the Zeitz MOCAA Image: Grant Durr / Unsplash

The Heatherwick Studios-designed Zeitz MOCAA has won the Architecture category at the prestigious 2018 Beazley Designs of the Year awards. 

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art which has just celebrated its first anniversary is one of Cape Town’s newest and most recognisable landmarks. The architects from London-based Heatherwick Studios repurposed old grain silos for the project which were made obsolete by container shipping. The museum now forms the focal point of the V&A Waterfront’s new Silo District.

The Zeitz MOCAA building beat 18 other projects for the Architecture category prize. Other finalists included another art museum the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Denmark’s Lego House, a micro-library built out of ice cream buckets in Indonesia and a theatre in Chile which is wrapped in a very thin translucent fibreglass skin.

zeitz Mocca
The exterior of the Zeitz MOCAA at the V&A Waterfront

The overall winner of the 2018 Beazley Designs of Year awards, ‘Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture’, is from the Digital category. The project was a survey exhibition of work by the independent research group based at Goldsmiths University in London and worked to “uncover miscarriages of justice and international war crimes through the architectural analysis of images. From official news and smartphone footage to satellite images, minute clues and fragmentary evidence are painstakingly analysed to create full 3D reconstructions of events, allowing the team to verify disputed information.”

Melodie Leung, Senior Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects had this to say about the overall winner, “By breaking conventional boundaries and ways of thinking, Forensic Architecture demonstrates how an impressively persistent and creative use of existing data and tools, applied in an open and collaborative manner, can be an effective way to challenge existing narratives and power structures in the pursuit for truth and justice.” 

This prestigious award is not the first that the Zeitz MOCAA has received this year  – in September the museum won at the International Architecture Awards in the Restoration/Renovation category.

Looking for more architectural inspiration? Read Zaha Hadid Architects Top 10 BuildingsBattery Park: Cape Town’s New Playground and 9 Inspirational South African Stories of Sustainability next.