The Windybrow Heritage House Restoration and New Art Centre
KMH Architects cc - South Africa
Drawings, plans, elevations
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Windybrow Heritage House was built as a family home by one of the early South African mining engineers, Theodore Reunert, in 1896. The property is situated at 161 Nugget Street, corner Pieterson Street, Hillbrow in Johannesburg. The Windybrow was declared a national monument in 1996. Its history as an arts centre spans more than 20 years – at first as a traditional theatre complex, reflective of the programming policies and cultural aesthetics of the period. In 1993 the Windybrow took bold steps to transform itself into a cultural centre consistent with the ethos of the new democratic order. The Theatre building was a recent addition to the property. On 1 April 2005 the Windybrow was declared a Cultural Institution by the Department of Arts and Culture. The Market Theatre Foundation (MTF) has since been appointed as the administrator of the Windybrow Theatre and one of its main tasks is to oversee the assessment of all work done as part of the previous capital works programme, preservation of the Heritage House and the Theatre and renovations. KMH Architects was appointed to refurbish completely the derelict site and to deliver a comfortable space for a Theatre training school. The venue will also be used as an event space and for showcases. The project is divided into two phases in the following order -Phase 1: The refurbishment of Heritage House which was completed in September 2016 and Phase 2: Construction of a new multipurpose Arts and Culture Centre is due to start in January 2019. A Collaborative working space, the centre is designed to provide the people of Hillbrow a cultural Pan-African space, in which the arts and heritage are equally celebrated. Whilst being an income generator, the centre aims to facilitate the development of careers in the arts, by being a space where the youth can experiment and grow, nurturing ideas and talents. The Art Centre has a direct link to the Heritage House at ground level. Extending functions into the space in a commemoration to the existing. With the objective of maintaining the visual connection to the restored Heritage house, the new art centre is sunken by a single story, allowing for the public to have visual access to the house as they move along the perimeter of the precinct. This allows for a physical connection to the house at ground level, in the form of a multi-functional roofscape. The sub surface multi purpose centre is designed to offer multiple opportunities for community functions and performances by being an adaptable space, with framed views to the restored heritage house, always maintaining the understanding of the relationship between the heritage of Hillbrow and the new era for the arts. Allowing the potential for individual as well as group activities to take place, becoming a space which enables the building of social and cultural cohesion.
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