IN: Inspiration

The Norval Foundation; a centre designed to celebrate excellence

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Located in Steenberg – adjacent to Table Mountain National Park – the Norval Foundation is an exquisite celebration of fine art, architecture and robust natural landscape. Home to the Homestead Art Collection, one of the leading 20th-century South African art collections, it is a sanctuary for South African art. The Norval Foundation is additionally committed to the research of 20th- and 21st century visual art from around the country. 

The centre was designed by the esteemed DHK Architects, who was briefed to create a world class art and cultural centre that complements its exceptional location. Described as “pure expression of form” by the designers, the linear shape of the building was influenced by the linear site, as it is set between a bustling road and wetland. The triple-volume foyer establishes a visual connection between these zones, providing a natural transition between the natural and urban. 

PPC Imaginarium

The centre offers a large environmentally-controlled exhibition venue and a series of six galleries. The galleries face the natural landscape, treating visitors of The Norval Foundation to framed views of the surrounding wetland, vineyards and majestic mountains. The upper level accommodates offices, a library, bar and artists’ residence. Outside, there is a large sculpture garden, amphitheatre, picnic area and a restaurant that spills across a timber deck.

The galleries face the natural landscape, treating visitors of The Norval Foundation to framed views of the surrounding wetland, vineyards and majestic mountains. The building shields the sensitive, recently rehabilitated wetland, creating a private space for the sculpture park and forming a barrier between the public and private spaces. The wetlands are additionally one of the last breeding sites of the endangered Western Leopard Toad. Concrete culverts were constructed underneath the highway, as well as embankments and ramps constructed to facilitate safe travel routes for the toads. 

PPC Imaginarium

An emphasis on sustainable design led to the implementation of features such as solar photovoltaic panels installed on the roof, a grey water purification system and energy efficient glazing. The materials used for the centre primarily consist of pre-cast concrete, natural timber, granite and glass. Timber is used in the centre’s interior to create a warm atmosphere. The overall design of the Norval Foundation strikes a balance of protecting the treasured artwork it exhibits and maximising the views of the invaluable landscape views.

 

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