Watch: Mandela Museum idea for Table Mountain

Celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday with a monumental design

3D-impression facade. From below the facade is green.


3D-impression facade

Nelson Mandela: “Everything is impossible till it’s done!”

The foundation has this project in mind. The realization of an image of Nelson Mandela in the mountains near the Table mountain, this conferring the example of mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial in the U.S.. On a beautiful and available place or space with a view over Cape town and Robben Island. Nelson Mandela was captured from 1964 till 1982 on Robben island and later in several other places to be released in 1990. The project should be realized at or near the location of district six, Cape town, to combine the image with an educative, recreational and multifunctional Centre. The history of district six is also not to be forgotten. The nostalgic area was in 1966 totally demolished with bulldozers and the 60.000 colored inhabitants had to leave without replacement. There has never been done anything since with this district! Due to old rites from the African people the district should be disclosed.


The design is a sculptural building that resembles the head of Nelson Mandela. The size of the building suits the visibility and accessibility on the mountain overlooking Cape Town and its coastline. So far we have considered the dimension of ca. 30 metres wide and ca. 60 metres high. In this dimension the building can facilitate different kinds of programs as part of the Nelson Mandela Centre. This can be a Nelson Mandela exhibition, congress centre, restaurant, theatre, education centre, panorama terrace etc..

3D-impression interior

The design matches the recognizable feature of Nelson Mandela’s head together with wonderful panoramic views from inside the building. We’ve conducted several studies on what the percentage of openness can be while still recognizing the face. All around the open parts terraces are situated to create attractive open areas and to prevent the interior from direct sunlight. The orientation to the North, facing Robben Island, is considered to create shade and to use the benefits of sunshine.

Aerial view

Sustainability is an important part of the design and we want the building to be self-sustaining. The two different appearances of the façade illustrate the use of natural resources. From below the building will look green by its vegetation façade. While from the sky solar panels catch the sun rays to provide not only the building with sufficient energy,but it should also be able to power nearby neighbourhoods.

Principle section

Nelson Mandela is present in the interior of the building as a standing statue on mostly all the building’s floors. Mandela will be literally the core of the building. To construct the building on the mountain facade, we will look for the best spot in visibility, panorama and anchoring. The idea is to find a platform on which the construction core can stand, to keep the construction principle simple.


Source: WHIM architecture

There is one comment

  1. Luke

    It’s controversial to site this on Table Mountain. But why not look at restoring a natural spot that has been spoiled, like the quarry in Bo-Kaap? There are still magnificent views, a sight line to District Six, much easier public access, easier construction, a bridging and healing metaphor and the same notion of embedding the monument within the mountain.

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