Blueprint Awards 2018 Winners Announced!

Best Public-Use Project with Private Funding

Winner: Heatherwick Studio, UK
Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa

Heatherwick Studio, UK Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South AfricaImage Credit: Iwan Baan

Judges’ Comments

‘A successful combination of old structures with new interventions.’ Ben van Berkel

‘This brave and unique project connects art and architecture through a magical and exciting experience.’Ole Scheeren

Zeitz MOCAA is the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art from the continent and its diaspora and is located in a historic former grain silo transformed by Heatherwick Studio.

Originally built in the 1920s to store and grade corn from all over South Africa, the silo had fallen into disuse by 2001. Whilst the rest of the surrounding harbour area was regenerated for leisure and tourism, the silo — once the tallest structure in sub-Saharan Africa — was left untouched.

After being invited to put forward ideas for adapting the complex by the client, V&A Waterfront, in 2011, Heatherwick Studio developed a concept to transform the silo’s tightly packed concrete cellular structure into a new museum with spaces suitable for displaying art while retaining its industrial heritage.

To connect the two major parts of the complex — a 33m-tall storage annexe consisting of 42 vertical concrete tubes and a 58m-tall grain elevator tower — a central atrium was carved out from the silo’s cellular structure.

Modelled on a grain of corn, the atrium shape was scaled up to fill the 27m-high volume and the tubes painstakingly cut through one by one, to create a wow-moment space, that feels like the interior of a gothic cathedral. The remaining internal tubes were removed to make space for 80 white-cube gallery spaces which circle around the dramatic atrium. Bubble-like windows were also designed for the top level of the main building and annexe — now a hotel.

Highly Commended

Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, China
The Walled — Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat, Yangzhou, China


Davide Macullo Architects, Switzerland
WAP Art Space, Seoul, South Korea

Haworth Tompkins, UK
The Bridge Theatre, London, UK

Haworth Tompkins, UK The Bridge Theatre, London, UK
Learning and Teaching Building, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Studio Link-Arc, USA
CRLand Archive Library, Shenzhen, China

Zaha Hadid Architects, UK
Morpheus Hotel, Macau


Foster + Partners, UK
Old Spitalfields Market Redevelopment, London, UK

Ian Ritchie Architects, UK
Royal Academy of Music — Theatre and new Recital Hall, London, UK

INUCE, Switzerland
Christian Community Centre — Huaxiang Church, Fuzhou, China

Mangera Yvars Architects, UK and Spain
Faculty of Islamic Studies and Education City Mosque, Doha, Qatar

Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, China
Valextra Flagship Store, Chengdu, China

Tidtang Studio, Thailand
Busaba Ayutthaya Hotel, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Category sponsored by: Turkish Ceramics

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