Javett Art Centre: University of Pretoria
Mathews and Associates Architects - South Africa
Drawings, plans, elevations
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Located in the Capital City, Pretoria and set in the context of one of the Nation's most prestigious Universities, the Javett-UP Art Centre will provide a public showcase for our National Treasures while stitching together the University of Pretoria’s Campuses with a raised pedestrian concourse which extends over Lynnwood road by means of a Bridge Gallery. This Gallery will elevate art firmly into the public domain while celebrating 'Tukkielaan’ as the cultural spine of the University through the culmination of this historic route in a new Art Square located on the site of the original main entrance to the University. The public portion of the project will consist of an Art Gallery and Mapungubwe Museum linked to an open Museum Square which includes a restaurant and outdoor exhibition space. The University portion of the project includes a student gallery and open Art Square, merging into the central bridge gallery. The centre will house some of the finest works from the collections of the Javett Foundation Trust and the University of Pretoria as well as various temporary special exhibitions. The southern gallery wing will house the private donor collections while the dynamic Bridge Gallery space will exhibit various travelling exhibitions as well as selections from the students' own works of art, graphics and architecture. The project will also include two generous open squares; the Museum Square and the Art Square. Museum Square will be located on the southern side of Lynnwood road in front of the main entrance. A natural gathering zone, this space will be directly accessible to the public, serving the restaurant and playing host to various public functions and events. The main public entrance would be located from this square. The Art Square will be located where the bridge gallery touches down on the University’s Hatfield campus and it is envisaged that this square could also play host to international sculptural exhibitions and competitions. The architectural forms and patterns are an expression of their historical local influences. The dominant iconic structure which stands in front of the gallery is formed as an abstract architectural interpretation of the Mapungubwe hill; this solid, iconic, sculptural, vault-like structure will provide a fitting setting for the Mapungubwe National treasures of the Golden Rhino, Scepter, Cow and Leopard which are to be proudly displayed to the world as a celebration of Africa's rich history. The patterns of the concrete sunscreen panels which provide a cooling solar filter for the building are a graphic representation of the shweshwe cloth fabric which has been a part of all walks of South African life. The ever-changing shadow patterns on the external walls and floors will provide a dynamic reminder of these nationally binding patterns. UP Javett Arts Centre will provide a valuable contribution to the University, the city, and the country, through the reactivation and unification of the University, the cultural enrichment and education of the city, and the international attraction of an uplifting national celebration of our rich African past. Construction has commenced.
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