Ever since its announcement in 2013, the development of Africa’s first dedicated contemporary art museum has been causing quite a stir. Located in the former grain silos at the V&A Waterfront, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a R500-million, not-for-profit development, jointly undertaken by the Waterfront – who have partly funded the redevelopment at no cost to the institution – and German entrepreneur and philanthropist Jochen Zeitz, whose founding collection will be on long-term loan.
Grains of history
The grain silo complex (where Zeitz MOCAA islocated) was, at 57m, once the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa. After its opening in August 1924, it became integral to South Africa’s industrial and agricultural development and allowed for significant economic activities in Table Bay Harbour. Although operations ceased as of 2001, today, it remains an impressive icon, easily recognisable on the Mother City’s skyline.
Time for a change
Esteemed British industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick is responsible for the stunning, state-of-the-art architectural design. According to Heatherwick Studio, the greatest transformational changes were cutting diagonally through 42 vertical concrete tubes, while retaining the original look. Additional features include the magnificent glass ceiling and all-encompassing, upper level windows, which will shine out across the city, attracting visitors to the “living museum” after dark.
The silo’s redevelopment will be completed by the end of 2016, with the museum team taking occupation in January to start the process of hanging and installation.
Set to hold its grand public opening from 22 to 25 September 2017, in time for the Heritage Day weekend, Zeitz MOCAA is dubbed to be to Cape Town what the Tate Modern is to London, and the MoMA is to New York.
Comprising over 9 500 square metres and spread across nine floors – 6 000 square metres of which will offer a dedicated exhibition space – it will develop a new, museum-going, art-appreciating audience. It will also offer a Museum Café and charming Sculpture Garden for visitors to enjoy.
Although entry will always remain free to under 18s, every Wednesday, all South African and African citizens can enjoy free admission. Admission and membership rates will be announced in 2017. (To find out about tickets for the Professional Preview Weekend, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Museum-topping Silo Hotel
The extraordinary, luxurious Silo Hotel, owned by the V&A and managed and operated by the Royal Portfolio, is set to be an exclusive and luxurious hotel in every sense when it opens in March 2017. And as the V&A’s tallest building, it will enjoy unprecedented, 360-degree views of Cape Town.
The reformed grain-silo building consists of two parts, and it is the elevator tower – where The Silo Hotel is located, six floors above the Zeitz MOCAA – that facilitated the bulk grain handling and sorting.
With seven room categories, including a spectacular top-floor penthouse, two Royal Suites, as well as intimate meeting rooms and private dining rooms, The Silo Hotel will cater to every luxury accommodation need.
The main guest floor and reception area will be on the 6th floor, where the Granary Café and Willaston Bar can be found. In addition to serving bistro-style contemporary comfort food, guests will be able to enjoy a host of classic cocktails, exotic spirits and fine wines here.
The 4th floor will offer an immaculate spa, complete with a gym, sauna and five treatment rooms.
The 11th floor rooftop will be a magical space that will be open to the public for light meals and drinks, while the spectacular rooftop pool will be open to hotel guests only.
Ready, steady Zeitz
The impressive museum is one of the most exciting developments to happen to the Mother City in decades. We have no doubt it will provide cultural stimulation to art appreciators young and old, as it serves as yet another wonderful Cape Town attraction for international and local visitors alike.
Opening 23 September 2017 (Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa)
Times Wednesday to Monday, 10am – 6pm; closed on Tuesdays
Contact 021 418 7855, email@example.com (Zeitz MOCAA)
021 761 8292, firstname.lastname@example.org (The Silo Hotel)
Cost (Zeitz MOCAA only; valid until 30 September 2018)
Free to all (grand opening weekend, 22 – 25 September 2017)
Free (year-round to under 18s)
R180 (single day entry)
R250 (annual membership)
Free from 10am – 1pm (Wednesdays; South African and African citizens only)
Half-price on Late Night Fridays (TBA)
Where to find it V&A Waterfront, Cape Town