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  6. Alexandra Interpretation Centre / Peter Rich Architects

Alexandra Interpretation Centre / Peter Rich Architects

  • 01:00 - 4 May, 2010
Alexandra Interpretation Centre / Peter Rich Architects
Alexandra Interpretation Centre / Peter Rich Architects, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +12

From the architect. Through Iwan Baan's website we discovered the Alexandra Interpretation Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, designed by Peter Rich Architects.

The Interpretation Center celebrates Nelson Mandela in the township that was his first home in Johannesburg, when he moved to the city from the Eastern Cape in the 1940s. In the heart of Alexandra, settlement established as early as 1912 and currently one of the poorest urban areas in the country, the one room house and yard are diagonally across the street from Peter Rich's new design on Hofmeyer Street and 7th Avenue.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

The new Interpretation Centre is a mixed used 3 floor structure, conceived as bridge spanning over the animated and loud streets of Alexandra. The program contains an exhibition space to tell the story of the place, a jazz archive for the rich musical history born here, a library, training facilities, shops and restaurants. Through the design the building also generates two urban squares, places to be taken over to the resident's liking, envisioned for both organized events like movie projections and the informality of street life. On a sunny day you might find someone getting a haircut or having a birthday party, or both, in the same place.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

A major part in the construction of this project was played by the relationship based on respect with the immediate surrounding and people of Alexandra. The centre is taking over elements from the context through the collage like qualities of the faade, the juxtapositions of spaces and playful, labyrinth-like circulation. In parallel, a big part of the budget is focused on the impact on residents through training and skills development initiatives, building up a heritage team and overall retail opportunities. The Alexandra Interpretation Centre is a platform for Alexandra's people to take on new opportunities while cherishing its culture.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Alexandra Interpretation Centre / Peter Rich Architects" 04 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Vicky Masuku · December 03, 2015

Thank you Peter Rich for your ever inspiring work! Following in you courageous footsteps.

Vicky Masuku · December 03, 2015

Inspiring architect! The fact that he fought Apartheid just crowns it for me.

Elia Capodarca · November 30, 2010

Check out: "Alexandra Interpretation Centre / Peter Rich Architects | ArchDaily"( )

matt · July 16, 2010

very nice project. materials / exposure of structure remind me very much of smithson's hunstanton school. http://www.imagineschooldesign...

meghna · July 08, 2010

also willing to see the plans & sections.

Fabrizio Gallanti · May 06, 2010

Here you'll find an interview to Rich.

JC · May 06, 2010

It is always a pleasure to see Peter Rich's work! Very inspiring, thankyou.

Home Decor News · May 06, 2010

Alexandra Interpretation Centre / Peter Rich Architects #architecture

Communist · May 05, 2010

The different world is possible !!!

Stephen · May 05, 2010

It fits into the context perfectly, the colours are magical, brilliant.

GG · May 05, 2010

Finally some ARCHITECTURE!!!

shetu · May 05, 2010

another good work by Peter

marco vicente · May 05, 2010

are there any plans and sections to better understand this fascinating project?


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© Iwan Baan

Alexandra 翻译中心 / Peter Rich Architects