Mphethi Morojele, MMA Architects


the place:South Africa

tags: Traditional South African houses, Design, Architect, Cultural design

Morojele’s MMA architects was one of the first black-owned architectural practices in SouthAfrica following the end of apartheid and has been a leading voice of the new, non-establishment practices ever since. Working on high-profile institutional projects such as embassies and university buildings, Morojele is heavily involved in efforts to remake the face of the African city to serve the public and reflect social commentary. A strong cultural interest is also indicated in his designs, which are intended to reflect the way South Africaviews itself in the post-apartheid era.

Morojele’s cultural interest can be seen in his designs for the South African embassy buildings in Ethiopia and Germany. As a typology, embassies are complicated buildings, required to exhibit a sense of national self while still fitting into the foreign context in which they are placed. The Berlin embassy was the first South African embassy constructed after the end of apartheid, and shows the new vision of South Africa most obviously in the use of traditional African detailing – but in fact the whole building is informed by traditional African forms, using a central courtyard which recalls both Berlin’s courtyards and the central kraal (corral) of South Africa. This theme continues into the work on Freedom Park, completed in collaboration with GAPP architects and MRA architects, a project of huge significance in South Africa which is dedicated to the victims of both World Wars and the apartheid era, as well the hotel complex at the Maropeng Cradle of Humanity, which is a World Heritage Site.



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