MASHABANE ROSE ASSOCIATES – architects & urban designers | FREEDOM SQUARE   

FREEDOM SQUARE   

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA

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IN 1955, THE “CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE” MET AT FREEDOM SQUARE IN SOWETO. REVEREND MEEBESI XUNDU, WHO ATTENDED THE MEETING RECALLED THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME, “PEOPLE WERE DECLARING OPENLY THAT POLITICAL RIGHTS COULD BE AVAILABLE TO ALL, REGARDLESS OF AGE, COLOUR, SEX, WEALTH OR EDUCATION” AND IT SYMBOLIZES THE VISION AND DREAMS OF A FREE SOUTH AFRICA AS EXPRESSED BY THE FREEDOM CHARTER AS WELL AS THE PROCESS BY WHICH THIS WAS ACHIEVED, THROUGH WIDESPREAD GRASS-ROOT PARTICIPATION.

THIS COMMEMORATIVE URBAN BUILDING ADJACENT THE HISTORIC SQUARE HOUSES AND INTERPRETIVE SPACE, CINEMA, AUDITORIUM / COMMUNITY CENTRE, ORAL HISTORY RECORDING SPACES AND COMMUNITY OFFICES.

THE ENTRANCE RAMP CUTS A CREVICE IN THE SLOPING ROOF OF THE BUILDING COMPLEX THAT EMERGES FROM THE SQUARE, ARTICULATED WITH HISTORIC PODIUM AND 9 CONCRETE CHARTER BENCHES. THE GLOWING GLASS BOX OF THE AUDITORIUM ILLUMINATES THE ROOF-SCAPE AND THE SQUARE AND PUNCTUATES THE FLUID RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EXTERIOR LANDSCAPE AND INTERIOR INTERPRETIVE CONTENT.

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