Up Close Cape Town Part 2: A Reluctant Monument

Project 02

A Reluctant Monument – Justine Bell, Architect MAA, London.

(Also see Project 01: Strategy for Philippi Farmland – Brian Macken, Architect, London.)

The old granite quarry was in operation from the late 1800s up until 1906, in was run by the Cornish Stonemason, John Higgo, after who the suburb Higgovale was named. In 1906 26 000 cubic feet of granite were ordered for the construction of Rhodes memorial, a memorial to the colonialist Cecil John Rhodes.

This quarry remains empty, a marker of erasure and removal, around it are fortified suburban boundary walls. The project process is of imagined inhabitation and dialogue of a range of historical and imagined characters, thereby investigating the socio-political and geographic notion of these suburban boundaries and of the quarry void. It looks to the history of the South-African landscape and its continual erasures and territorial struggles.

The project proposes a dialogic approach to the creation of a public space and investigates the various spatial effects of the characters themselves.The result is not a building, but a research process and a method of drawing to create interaction.

Unit 17 is a post-graduate architecture unit at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. It is run by Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Niall Mclaughlin and Michiko Sumi.