Case Study

SOUTH AFRICA: Red Location Museum

Remembering and commemorating, as a way to come to terms with the injustice done to the ‘non-white’ population of South Africa during the apartheid era is an important element in creating a stabile society. The ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ was the first step in this process; another was the creation of apartheid museums in several parts of the country. The Red Location Museum, designed by Noero Wolff architects, stands out for its social and contextual sensitivity, providing public and commercial space for gathering and informal trading next to the museum program. The factory language and simple materials makes it very approachable rather than alienating. The same rusted corrugated metal sheets are used as the surrounding shacks of the shantytown (which give Red Location its name), and the overall form of the museum resembles that of a factory. But most importantly, it provides space for a voice to the past and present, for the development of narratives over time, and for moving on without forgetting. It’s this inherent dynamics of concept and design that makes the project so special.