OCA completes museum designed as a 'leading national and international icon of humanity and freedom'
Freedom Park Museum, '//HAPO' (meaning ‘The Dream’) and the Pan African Archive are housed together as a centre of knowledge capturing South African history from 3.6 billion years ago to the present day.
Its primary objectives are to create a deeper understanding of South Africa and its people, to create new knowledge of South African history, culture and spirituality, placing the country’s entire history in a context whose integrity will be respected nationally and internationally.
Designed by GAPP Architects + Urban Designers, Mashabane Rose Associates and MMA Architects under the collaborative office OCA, the building is located within a garden of healing and remembrance overlooking the city of Pretoria; Freedom Park.
The vision of //HAPO as a series of abstract boulders resonates with several traditional African ideas of healing, pays homage to the rocky African landscape and reflects the spirit of traditional, indigenous knowledge systems. The hard landscaped surfaces, which surround the building, have been gently shaped to echo the boulder forms of the building and to extend the boulder theme into the landscape.
Cracks and fissures of natural boulders changing over thousands of years are mimicked in the design of the windows with their deep-set openings and complex irregular shapes, permitting just enough natural light to reinforce the sense of a dimly lit cave.
Internally the interconnecting boulders expand and contract providing exhibition spaces which lean and fold through the large volumes and compressed spaces alluding to the mountainous shelters of traditional healers live and Khoisan.
Clad in copper, the material’s malleability has provided the opportunity for complex surfacing and furthermore allows the building skin to transform over time, slowly merging within the hillside. Copper is also particularly significant as an abundant material used to trade in Africa over thousands of years.
The museum has recently been opened to the public.