The Bhisho Contact Centre is a Living heritage site that tells the story of what happened during the Bhisho Massacre on 7 September 1992, but also reflects of other aspects of struggles for liberation in the Eastern Cape.
An extension of the Bhisho Massacre Memorial, the site comprises flexible meeting, exhibition and public entertainment spaces. It forms part of the First Node of the Bhisho Revitalisation Programme. [Watch the walk-through video here.]
The Contact Centre serves as a easily accessible gathering space and seeks to announce to visitors and residents that they have entered the Capital of the Eastern Cape Province.
Positioned at the intersection of the R63 and Link Road, the Contact Centre is highly visible as an “architectural signpost”. It gives definition to the town by acting as an entrance gateway , together with the existing Bhisho Massacre Memorial site.
The building consists of flexible meeting and exhibition spaces. At ground level the building forms an extension to the development of the Bhisho Massacre Memorial, taking the concentric design of the memorial gardens into consideration.
Through the creation of an expansive plaza, outdoor entertainment spaces along with information plaques; the design is an appropriate expression of the current development on site.
The building on ground level takes a circular form, with a contradicting rectangular shape presenting itself in the planning, once inside the building. The vertical circulation element is situated right at the entry point of the building, with the entrances on either side, forming the edges of a triple story void / natural ventilation stack system.
The circular form continues on the first floor. Both levels are enclosed with a continuous glazed curtain wall, which is offset from the floors. The second floor form changes from a circle to a more elongated oval shape, allowing a greater usable floor area. The entire Level is screened off with an external floor to roof timber louver system, to provide a solar shield.
Source: NOH ARCHITECTS