MASHABANE ROSE ASSOCIATES – architects & urban designers | MANDELA HOUSE

MANDELA HOUSE

SOWETO

MH1
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THE SMALL RED BRICK HOUSE, ONCE THE RESIDENCE OF FORMER PRESIDENT NELSON MANDELA IN THE 1950’s HAS BEEN CONVERTED INTO AN INTIMATE MUSEUM. THE EXISTING SHELL OF THE BUILDING IS UNTOUCHED, AND THE BUILDING’S INTERIOR HAS BEEN STRIPPED DOWN TO ITS ORIGINAL MINIMUM.

A NEW VISITOR CENTRE HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE BACK OF THE SITE WHERE A GARAGE USED STAND. IT IS THROUGH THIS SMALL CONCRETE AND RED BRICK BUILDING THAT VISITORS ENTER THIS HISTORICAL SITE.

WITHOUT CAMOUFLAGING IT’S CONTEMPORARY CHARACTER, THE ARCHITECTURAL SCALE OF THE NEW BUILDING IS KEPT SIMILAR TO THAT OF THE BUILDINGS IN THE SURROUNDING SOWETO CONTEXT, AND THE MATERIALS ARE SIMILARLY RESPECTFUL. WHILE FORMING A SECURE BARRIER, A NEW COMB-LIKE PALISADE OF RUSTY STEEL ALLOWS UNINTERRUPTED VIEWS OF THE HOUSE FROM THE STREET.

THE CHARACTER OF THE PLACE IS SILENT AND SOLEMN AND LITTLE WAS DONE TO DISTRACT THE VISITOR FROM THE HOUSE, WHICH FORMS A SINGULAR ARTIFACT AS THE HOME OF THIS GREAT MAN AND HIS YOUNG FAMILY DURING A TIME OF GREAT STRUGGLE AND SACRIFICE.

THE MUSEUM WAS OPENED IN MARCH 2009.

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