building heritage, brick by brick | House and Leisure
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building heritage, brick by brick

The new uMkhumbane Cultural Museum at Cato Manor, Durban.

House and Leisure’s obsession with beautiful brickwork continues this week after we discovered the extraordinary central column of the uMkhumbane Cultural Museum at Cato Manor, Durban. Designed by Rod Choromanski and Dean Ramlal of Choromanski Architects, the building’s five-storey museum tower saw approximately 500 000 clay bricks used to create the sculptural monolith. 'Because of its inherent strength, brick achieved higher walls utilising the method of diaphragms, thereby avoiding extra reinforced concrete beams and added cost while providing ideal thermal and environmentally sustainable properties,' says Sada Naidu from LSC Brunette Consulting Civil/Structural Engineers, who worked on the project.[/embed] The team used 'Firelight Satin' from Corobrik to shape the tower, with 'Silver Grey Travertine' used on the ancillary spaces.

heritage remembered[/embed] The building documents the socio-political history of Cato Manor, cultural traditions and history of the Zulu Nation as well as offering venues for educational and recreational events. Although South African history remembers Sophiatown and District Six, scant attention is given to Cato Manor, where forced removals under apartheid first took place, and where earliest resistance to these began. Today, Cato Manor is home to 100 000 people who have re-settled the area post 1994, many of whom worked on the creation of the museum. The city’s master plan for the site envisages the future inclusion of a cultural park and public neighbourhood square, further retail spaces for traders and crafters' stalls, and facilities for children. It’s no wonder that the uMkhumbane Cultural Museum was the first winner of the inaugural Africa Architecture Awards. We can’t wait to see what comes from this exciting new space.