Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre
by Peter Rich Architects



A centre built to house prehistoric artefacts designed by South African practice Peter Rich Architects won the World Building of the Year award at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona last night.


More information and images if and when we get them. Here's a press release from the World Architecture Festival:


Press release November 6th 2009

South African Interpretation Centre wins World Building of the Year at World Architecture Festival Awards 2009

- Johannesburg-based Peter Rich Architects secures global architecture’s most prestigious accolade -

Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in South Africa, designed by Peter Rich Architects of Johannesburg, has won global architecture’s most coveted accolade of World Building of the Year at the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards (WAF Awards) 2009.

The presentation took place during a special awards ceremony, which marked the conclusion of global architecture summit the World Architecture Festival, at the Centre Convencions International Barcelona (CCIB) on 6th November.

Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, which is situated at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers, is designed to house artifacts from the region’s prehistory. The project is underpinned by a strong social programme, using the skills and labour of local people and involving them in the design and construction process. Judges praised the project for its roughness and hand-crafted intelligence. They also admired the way in which it handled issues of sustainability and its relationship to the landscape.

The WAF Awards form the biggest architectural awards programme in the world and are designed to celebrate and showcase the work of the international architectural community. The WAF Awards are unique in that they involve shortlisted architects presenting their projects live to more than 1,500 delegates, distinguished architects and renowned industry experts during World Architecture Festival between the 4th and 6th of November.

Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre was selected from a total of 15 finalists, by a ‘super-jury’ chaired by Raphael Viñoly of Rafael Viñoly Architects PC, which included Kengo Kuma, Farshid Moussavi, Suha Ozkan and Matthias Sauerbruch. The finalists were whittled down from a shortlist of over 270 projects.

Speaking at the WAF Awards Paul Finch, WAF programme director and editor of Architectural Review, said: “The super-jury faced a tough challenge to choose a winner from such a strong list of finalists. Yet again we received a huge response to these fiercely contested Awards, with 272 projects shortlisted from a 67 different countries. The wide geographical range and quality of this year’s designs were exceptionally high and offers a real insight into the current condition and diversity of global architecture. Our congratulations go to Peter Rich Architects who thoroughly deserve to receive world architecture’s highest accolade.”

Collecting the World Building of the Year Award, Peter Rich said: “I will continue my quest to be of service to the less privileged, because they deserve it.”

Commenting that his next project would be in Ethiopia, Rich added: “I’m going to continue the good fight and take it to the world.”

This is the 2nd year the World Architecture Festival Awards have been presented. Last year’s overall winner of World Building of the Year 2008 was Luigi Bocconi University, Milan, designed by Irish practice Grafton Architects. The Awards look beyond borders to celebrate the finest work from the world’s greatest architects.

In addition to the 15 categories in the World Building of the Year, for buildings completed in the last year, this year’s Awards feature three new sections – Interiors and Fit-Out, Structural Design and Future Projects, which celebrates excellence in design for projects still on the drawing board.

The World Structural Design of the Year Award went to upi-2m for Arena Zagreb in Croatia, the World Future Project of the Year Award was given to Miralles Tagliabue Embt for the Spanish Pavilion for 2010 Expo Shanghai and the World Interiors & Fit Out of the Year Award was won by Amanda Levete Architects for the Corian Super-Surfaces Showroom.

Posted on Saturday November 7th 2009 at 8:09 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • congratulation,…. simple yet inspiring… theydefinitely deserved it….

  • tanya telford – T

    i saw photos of this yesterday, the thing that really hit me was how it blended with its surroundings and reading more about the building here think an amazing building and project.

  • I’m proud to say that I worked at Peter’s office while this project was being taken from competition winning entry to reality.
    Mapungube is an amazing place, and this building will hopefully draw people to the place and to an amazing piece of architecture!

  • Bravo! so impress with the light & shade. it will be amaze to live there!

  • Gunnar Á.

    The house is a part of it´s surroundings. Love it!

  • Me gusta, en especial la utilizacion del ladrillo en las bovedas del techo.

  • andy

    I’m digging it. Wish there were more pics, or even drawings though.

  • This truly blows my mind! well done

  • great!

  • testek

    great project. someone who is really practicing experimental design (instead of just talking about it like that guys in barcelona).

  • radhika

    i visited the building this july with Global Studio mates…it was a wonderful experience especially to see the scale, use of materials and appropriate techniques…

  • dw

    are there more photos of this project? I think it has intersting interior shots.

  • just so

    Very nice, it reminds me of Eladio Dieste’s architecture…

  • In an age of plastic design , simplicity and low tech methods have triumphed .

  • michael hurley

    did I see this vault building technique years ago on ‘grand designs’?

  • working on an art/edu center in Italy, this project has confirmed ideas on lawtech … and curved forms! more fotos and drawings, please! thanks

  • eileen ray

    This is absoultely stunning. I love the integration of the natural environment with the actual building. Exquisite textural effect, and uniquely African feel. Congratulations to the team! Makes me proud to be an African…

  • dan

    Much more information on the technique of catalan vaulting, and many pictures :

  • Sanele Khubone

    Much more information on how the centre operates, what is its theme, the marketing strategy they use, their mission and vision…..