Artscape, Cape Town
DREAMSCAPE : Zip Zap Performance Hall
SOUND SPACE DESIGN has achieved local authority approval for the Zip Zap social circus setting the stage for the revival of Cape Town’s 1970’s brutalist Civic Centre precinct.
In February 2022, SOUND SPACE DESIGN won an international one-stage competition of ten invited firms, whose objective was to create an iconic permanent home for South Africa’s longest running social circus, on a prominent corner site bounding the Artscape theatre complex, opposite the brutalist Cape Town Civic Centre complex.
Zip Zap are a non-profit social circus with an academy that specialises in the training and prospective placement of marginalised Cape Town youth, into the contemporary circus arena, both in South Africa and internationally.
Displaced from its current location in the precinct by an affordable housing project, at the behest of the Western Cape government, Zip Zap were offered a new site at the corner of Hertzog Blvd and DF Malan Street by Artscape on a 99-year lease basis, and the opportunity to create a more permanent, multipurpose performance hall was born.
The winning design features a trapeze-curve inspired roof and a unique north-east facing Grand Veranda which replicates the original terraced interface between Luthuli Plaza on the South West side of Hertzog Blvd, and the original Artscape Platform level on the site itself.
The Grand Veranda is a deliberate attempt at maximising the hospitality space for show attendees to experience outdoors during intervals and before and after shows, and also to maximise engagement of the public with rehearsals in the hall by way of a giant window between the veranda and the stage itself. By separating the bar from the existing Artscape Cafe, a large veranda is effectively served by both vendors before, during and after shows.
The 2500 m2 building operates on two principle levels as many theatres do, with the main hall being accessed by both ground floor and balcony level, however what sets the winning design apart from its competitors is its attitude to preserving existing public rights of way and the creation of additional ceremonial paths right the way through the hall, connecting Hertzog Blvd to the Artscape Plaza by way of a de facto “porte cochere” that already exists by virtue of the exiting Luthuli Plaza platform above.
Competition Stage :
Don Albert | Gordon Jubber | Maurits vd Walt
Approvals and Tender Documentation Team :
Amelie de Bonniéres