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Mapungubwe National Park Interpretation Centre by Michael Ramage, Peter Rich and John Ochsendorf has been shortlisted for the Aga Kahn Award for Architecture

last modified May 02, 2013 09:54 AM

The Mapungubwe Interpretive Centre in South Africa uses novel design and construc­tion techniques to allow local materials and labour to be used in production. The pro­ject is developed for labour-intensive construction to enable poverty relief and skills transfer into the surrounding area. Form-finding based on equilibrium thrust line analy­sis allows the design of thin unreinforced masonry shells that act in pure compression. Digital models let us translate advanced geometry into simple guides for construc­tion. Traditional tile vaulting, using locally- made, pressed soil-cement tiles, allows the complex shapes to be built by newly trained workers without extensive formwork. A hands-on programme of design and construction suggests a new way to jointly man­age architecture and development programs. This merging of novel structural geom­etry with traditional materials and craft has resulted in a new interpretation centre for a trans-frontier national park in South Africa.

Click here for more information on the Aga Kahn Award shortlist.