New Museum at Eenhana Shrine

Eenhana Shrine Phase 2

 

New Museum at Eenhana Shrine

Eenhana Shrine Phase 2

 

New Museum at Eenhana Shrine

Eenhana Shrine Phase 2

1
1
Parastatal - Munting Rechholtz Architects

In 2007 a shrine was erected at Eenhana for the reburial and remembrance of the fallen freedom fighters whose remains had been discovered nearby at the site of a former South African Defence Force military base. The first phase of the development, designed by Marley Tjitjo Architects, was inaugurated by His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba on 26 August 2007.

Despite having been declared a National Heritage Site by the National Heritage Council of Namibia, the shrine receives very few visitors as it is still very underdeveloped. In 2011 the architect was appointed by the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture to produce a design for Phase 2 of the Eenhana Shrine site with the aim of attracting more visitors and providing the local community with much needed educational facilities. These facilities would include a museum, a library, a cinema, and a restaurant.

The flat site, dotted with a wide variety of large indigenous trees typical of the north of Namibia, provided the architect with both a challenge in terms of delicately placing a large public building on a pristine natural site, and a great opportunity in that the site provided the architect with much inspiration and freedom to produce a unique and eye-catching design that the local community could be proud of. Due to the low urban density of the surrounding area and the vast flatness of the landscape there are very few focal points that can be used for orientation. Thus, it was essential that the building would make a bold architectural statement, and serve as a landmark for visitors and the local community.

The programmatic requirements included a library for at least 10 000 books, a cinema to seat 50 people, flexible display space for both temporary and permanent exhibitions, offices, a conference room, ablutions, adequate storage facilities and a kiosk/coffee shop. In order to reduce the footprint of the development and to minimise the administrative resources required it was decided that all the facilities were to be placed under one roof. The building therefore had to have an open flexible plan with a large gallery to fulfil both the requirements of the museum with its changing displays and the functional needs of the library, cinema, and offices.

Eenhana Shrine Phase 2
Parastatal - Munting Rechholtz Architects

The architect opted for a simple, pure geometry in the form of a cube, reminiscent of the bunkers used in the war. The pure form with its strong, rigid lines contrasts strongly with its natural surroundings and thus makes a bold monumental statement. In contrast to its form, there was also a desire to connect the building to its surrounding and for it to relate back to nature. This was achieved in part by cladding the building with offset perforated galvanized metal screens with a laser cut motif inspired by the surrounding trees that many of the PLAN fighters used for shelter during the liberation struggle. The screens act as a shading device to minimise solar heat gain and to filter the light that enters the building.

The entrance to the museum is defined by an 18m long canopy, which leads the visitor into the building. The entrance façade is differentiated by means of an egg-shaped protrusion housing the kiosk, reception, and conference room. Once inside the museum, the visitor will have contrasting experiences, moving from a low-ceilinged and dimly lit space, into the heart of the building with its sense of openness, created by the multi-volume gallery which is flooded by natural light.

The museum and proposed restaurant building are designed in relation to the mopane leaf shrine by Marley Tjitjo Architects, which sits between them. As such, the museum building is not an isolated monument but rather forms part of a significant whole which relates strongly to its context. The functions provided for within the building also allow the monument to become active and alive, bringing the people to their shrine through activity and education. This concept is in stark contrast to the dramatic, yet passive monuments that have been constructed by Mansudae Overseas Project for example, such as Heroes’ Acre which relies entirely on its monumentality to draw its visitors.

Project Details

Location

Eenhana, Ohangwena Region, Namibia

Client Name

Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports & Culture

Structural/Civil engineers

Engelbrecht Consulting Engineers

ME Engineers

EMCON

Quantity Surveyors

Buhr, Fouche & partners Quantity Surveyors

Contractor

Not Yet Appointed

Status

On Hold

Photographer(s)

Renderings by Ryan Uckermann of Visualize 3D