old palapye museum proposal is set within the ruins of a burnt brick church in botswana

old palapye museum proposal is set within the ruins of a burnt brick church in botswana

beullah serema’s proposal for a new museum development within the ruins of a burnt brick church in palapye, botswana, is aimed at preserving historical heritage by adding a contemporary feel without overriding the existing structure. winner of the bronze A’ design award 2019, the project introduces a steel framework to rebuilt the old structure of the church by referring to its old photos, while modern materials, such as corten steel, are to be used in its construction, highlighting the contrast between old and new. old palapye museum proposal is set within the ruins of a burnt brick church in botswanaimage credits noua pty ltd., 2019



winner of the bronze A’ design award 2019, beullah serema designed the old palapye museum and exhibition space to catalogue and communicate the rich history of the 19th century capital of the bangwato tribe. the proposal considers keeping the ruins in their original state, and introducing a structural steel framework to rebuild parts of the church that have collapsed. the height, form, and windows of the old church are to be reconstructed with modern materials, such as corten steel to represent the hue of the burnt brick ruins and for the wall enclosure, as well as steel for the structural frame and metal roofing, patterned with the traditional pattern of the old royal house/homestead.



the 380 sqm museum has three major spaces: the exhibition space at the center, as well the historic information display spaces on the left and right sides; and two secondary spaces: the grand entry and the steeple which are enclosed by steel and glass. the steeple forms the main anchor and landmark for the museum which acts as a reflective lighthouse by night. the metal roofing is reflective of the tswana traditional pattern used to adorn the traditional walls and houses, while its cutouts reflect light into the interior (previous church nave of the old church) of the museum and give a great ambience to the exhibition display.



the two opposite spaces of the nave/exhibition space form the old church aisles, which now incorporate the historic information display of the museum, are flooded by light from the top glass and steel roof. the overall shape of the museum is the form of the old church in a contemporary state, with new added values and function, and therefore the imagery and history of the church and its historic site are brought back into life.




project info:



name: old palapye museum

architect: beullah serema

location: palapye, botswana

main use: historic building preservation, museum

award: bronze A’ design award 2019

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