Guga S´Thebe Theatre
The Guga S´ Thebe Children Theatre project is part of a Design Build Program 2012-2015, where students from different international schools – the Peter Behrens School of Arts (HS Duesseldorf), RWTH Aachen University (Aachen), Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta), University of Cape Town -designed and built a theatre and performance space as an extension to the current Arts and Culture Centre Guga S’Thebe. The projects was built in collaboration with the South African architect, Carin Smuts (CS Studio, CPT) and the structural engineering company imagine structure GmbH (Frankfurt).
Located in one of Cape Town’s oldest townships, the Arts and Culture Centre Guga S’Thebe attracts local children, adolescents, and artists, as well as international tourists. One of its additional programmatic needs was a large multipurpose space.
The new space facilitates local theatrical productions, exhibitions, lectures, concerts, dance performances and festivals. The multifunctional theater, which seats up to 200 people, consists of a system of loosely stacked sea freight containers, surrounding a central theater space. The interior side spaces of the containers incorporate programmatic elements such as backstage areas, a soup kitchen, music training spaces, a recording studio and sanitary facilities.
AIT-ArchitekturSalon, Hamburg/Köln, Kristina Bacht
Department of Arts and Culture, City of Cape Town + residents of Langa
Design / Realisation
Peter Behrens School of Arts, Faculty of Architecture
Judith Reitz, Franz Klein-Wiele
RWTH Aachen University, Faculty of Architecture
Bernadette Heiermann, Nora Elisabeth Müller
Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Architecture
Daniel Baerlecken, Katherine Wright
CS Studio Architects, Carin Smuts
imagine structure GmbH, Arne Künstler
MiTek, Clayten Gouws/ Conrad v. Zyl/ Schalk Brits
S. Imail Consulting Electrical Engineers
Fire engineer: solutionstation
Energy consultant: Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH
Acoustic engineer: Peutz Akustik
container transformation: Heribert Weegen
straw-clay: Elias Rubin
electrical installation: Dorman Projects
The new space facilitates local theatrical productions, exhibitions, lectures, readings, concerts, dance performances and festivals. The multifunctional theater, which seats up to 200 people, consists of a system of loosely stacked sea freight containers, surrounding a central theater space. The interior side spaces of the containers incorporate programmatic elements such as backstage areas, a soup kitchen/ cookery, music training spaces, a recording studio and sanitary facilities. The support structure is divided into two elements: a wood construction roof system and a steel support structure linked to the containers. The structure of the roof is based on a manually produced, readily available, and cost- effective nail plate binder and widely used in South African industrial construction. The V-shaped structure characterizes the main view of the theater and remains visible in the interior. In order to improve the interior climate the entire outer skin of the theater is covered with prefabricated straw-clay modules. The wooden frame of the modular system is made from recycled pallets, which are clamped onto a folding formwork. The straw-clay panels are covered with a layer of cladding made from recycled local fruit crate boards.
Combining reused or recycled waste materials with traditional earth construction methods is a critical component in the development of low-cost construction methods. The research within the program focused on full-scale, developmental, neovernacular structures, which experimented with such composite materials. Combining the recycled/ re-used materials with smart energy concepts was essential.
Guga Theatre 2016
2016 the local township community, local artists and the Department for Arts and Culture of the City of Cape Town have made diverse use of the Theatre space. The soup kitchen is now used as Café/ Bar and run by local township citizens.