Denis Goldberg House of Hope Museum
Cape Town, South Africa
Denis Goldberg Memorial Trust
Text description provided by architect.
Denis Goldberg is a revered figure in South African liberation politics. He was the only white person sentenced to life imprisonment at the infamous Rivonia Trial in 1963 which also saw Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress sentenced to life imprisonment and banished to Robben Island.
At the time Denis was described by the Apartheid government as the most dangerous white man in South Africa. Denis retired to Hout Bay in 2002 and devoted the remainder of his life to supporting youth development through the arts in the Hout Bay community.
The Denis Goldberg House of Hope represents the culmination of this engagement with youth arts development. The new center is on a beautiful, treed site surrounded by heritage buildings including the Hout Bay History Museum run by the provincial Government Iziko Museums.
The area allocated for the new building is located at the back of the site and has been built on the existing double tennis courts. To make tangible its setting the building has been designed as an open building – to achieve this we have made small and large spaces which are tucked in beneath a covered walkway open to the site on all sides.
In this way, the building spaces breathe out and take in views of the site. The largest space accommodates the exhibition of Denis Goldberg`s life, his art collection, a teaching space, and a mezzanine area that accommodates a library and archive.
The mezzanine space is spatially connected to the space below so that people using the library are always aware of what is happening below. All these spaces are connected, and all the functions can happen simultaneously. In this sense, it is a social condenser like the kinds of community buildings designed by Russian architects such as Constantine Melnikov in the 1920s`.
non-hierarchical space has been established and visitors to the gallery/museum will simultaneously rub shoulders with children taking part in art lessons within the same space.
A This space opens out through large sliding doors to an outside space with tiered seating on one side and a small stage on the other.
This enables the inside area to double in size and will easily accommodate large audiences for concerts and other such activities. The buildings are treated very simply, painted white with areas of color to highlight entrances and other important thresholds.
The construction is straightforward, and materials are used without artifice remembering in their use Denis`s training as an engineer and his abhorrence of pretense in both life and building works.
We hope that the way in which the building has been put together represents Denis Goldberg`s values and his life and will live as a testament to his wonderful life.