Ryder Architecture design performing space to boost cultural regeneration in South Africa
Ryder Architecture and theatre company Dodgy Clutch have joined forces to launch a cultural regeneration project in South Africa’s Eastern Cape which will see the construction of a new community theatre.
Ryder and Dodgy Clutch, which has a long running association with the local community in the Tyhume Valley, have organised this project in conjunction with engineering firm Cundall and with the active support of the region’s political leaders in the hope that the scheme will provide a catalyst for regeneration and encourage a cultural renaissance in the area.
In recent years the Tyhume Valley has suffered from urban migration as young people move from the countryside to the cities in search of employment. Located next to the local primary school and near the University of Fort Hare, this project is seen as an opportunity to start to reverse this trend in the Tyhume Valley.
Peter Buchan, chief executive of Ryder Architecture, said: “This is not just an opportunity for Ryder to use our expertise overseas to benefit the local community, but a real two-way exchange of knowledge. The team will be learning about local construction techniques and materials and working with the community to deliver a sustainable facility that will benefit the area for years to come. As we have seen in the UK, cultural-led regeneration projects like this can kick-start and inspire dramatic growth and this project has the potential to demonstrate what is possible for similar communities across South Africa.”
The self-supporting structure will use only locally sourced materials, including 380 tonnes of stone, more than 10 tonnes of timber for the main frames and 500 metres of timber for the cladding. Covering an area of 600 sq m and standing 9.5 metres tall and 28 metres wide, the theatre boasts 4 terraces and a 200 sq m performance area.