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Bopitikelo Community and Cultural Centre
Molatedi, North West


Client:Molatedi Community
Type:Community Centre
2001SAIA Award of Merit

Bopitikelo was conceived as a meeting place, a center for the reinvigoration of the cultural history of a people who had been largely divested of their traditions through disruption from the colonial and apartheid regimes. It fulfills the need for a venue for community and social functions facilitating dialogue between local communities and visitors from Southern Africa and abroad.

The center was designed as a series of detached pavilions with equal emphasis on the shapes of the buildings and the spatial relationships between the structures. It was sited to ‘participate’ naturally with the undulations of the riverbank landscape. Marking the landscape horizontally the ‘A Great Hall’ , an un-walled shelter, built with treated gum poles, provides shade and shelter and gives a monumental scale without denying the need for intimate spaces.

The project continues the use of earth and plant material, both of which are central to traditional African building technology. Soil cement bricks made from local earth provides the basic building blocks; granolithic flooring is decorated with hand marking; traditional thatching is utilized for the roof.


• World Architecture Awards, under the auspices of the RIBA, 2001. Best public / cultural building in the region African and the Middle East.

Nomination together with 9 other worldwide submissions for the green award.

One of 38 buildings selected from 400 buildings worldwide for the World Architecture Awards.

• Nomination for National Award of Excellence, 2002; South African Institute of Architects.

• National Award of Merit, 2001; South African Institute of Architects.

• Project Award, 2001; South African Institute of Architects.


Cooke, J. (ed.) Citation, Architecture South Africa (Cape Town), April. 1999; 16-17 Cooke, J. (ed.) Merit Awards, Architecture South Africa (Cape Town), Nov./Dec. 2001: 34-36 Raman, P G, Peter Rich, Incomplete Modernist Project vs. Robust Hybridgity in South Africa, Architecture +, Volume 1.04; 108-111 Cooke, J. (ed.) Place of Reconciliation, Architecture South Africa (Cape Town), Sep/Oct. 2003: 21 Louw, I. (ed.) Bopitikelo, Digest of South African Architecture, 2002 [Source: Peter Rich Architects]

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.