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Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre is a Fun Cluster of Earthy Domes
Posted By Yuka Yoneda On August 11, 2010 @ 10:27 am In Architecture | 2 Comments
Appearing to have sprouted right from the ground like a cluster of mushrooms, the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre is a dynamic cultural hub located at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers in Zimbabwe. The center and surrounding park celebrate the indigenous peoples of the area and the structure itself blends into the natural beauty of the mesa. Designed by Peter Rich Architects, the domed buildings were built with local materials by unemployed local workers, providing them with skills they carried over to work on their own homes!
Not only was the natural landscape of the mesa the inspiration for the design of the center, it was also the source of most of the construction materials. That probably explains why the structures look so authentic. The heavy vaulted ceilings of the domes contrast with the delicate walkways that meander through the center. Inside, the domes are daylit  by a strong southern light that filter in through an opening in ceiling. Ponds in the area cool the air that naturally ventilates  the buildings.
In addition to being made out of local materials, the center was constructed by unemployed local workers who were trained in the production of the stabilized earth tiles that were used to build it. These skills are now a part of the culture of the region, and the masons continue to use them and the leftover tiles for their houses in nearby villages. It’s pretty amazing when a cultural center  can actually write a piece of the story of the people it celebrates.
Via World Buildings Directory 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/mapungubwe-interpretation-centre-is-a-cluster-of-earthy-domes/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2010/08/Mapungubwe-Interpretation-Centre-6.jpg
 daylit: http://www.inhabitat.com/daylighting
 naturally ventilates: http://inhabitat.com/index.php?s=natural+ventilation
 cultural center: http://inhabitat.com/index.php?s=cultural+center
 + Peter Rich Architects: http://www.peterricharchitects.co.za/
 World Buildings Directory: http://www.worldbuildingsdirectory.com/project.cfm?id=1634
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