Unique buildings around South Africa

Posted by Aimee Pace on 22 January 2019

South Africa is known to be a place of natural wonders, but its architecture sometimes gets overlooked. In fact, there are a great many built marvels to see and visit around the country – here are some of the most spectacular, as well as quirky, of them.


1. The Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a public not-for-profit contemporary art museum which collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits twenty-first century art from Africa.

The building that houses these beautiful works of art is something of an artwork itself, designed by famed English designer Thomas Heatherwick. Originally a Grain Silo Complex, the Zeitz MOCAA has been redesigned but still features much of the old machinery that visitors can view.

Many unique features are incorporated into the structure, such as its signature convex glass windows that allow gazers to see the landscape of Cape Town in a whole new way. The lower levels of the building can be accessed via elevator or down an interesting and lengthy set of spiral stairs. Here, visitors can see undisturbed features and areas of the original grain silo.

One of the biggest challenges during the redesign of this building was carving a space where 33 metre-high concrete tubes, that previously stored grain, stood.


2. The Diamond Building, Johannesburg

One of the most distinct buildings on the Johannesburg skyline has to be the Diamond Building, designed by the renowned architect, Helmut Jahn, and completed in 1983.

The unusually angular facade resembles a multi-faceted diamond, with massive sheets of glass running at varying angles to reflect different images of the city around it. Due to its sleek design, the building appears unusually slim and is the 15th-tallest building in the area.

The building is currently used by the department of Development Planning & Local Government.

3. The Big Pineapple, Eastern Cape


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You won’t need to pay a visit to SpongeBob under the sea to snap a picture of this giant pineapple.

In Bathhurst, Eastern Cape, travellers can visit this tribute to the agricultural success of this much-loved tropical fruit.

Standing 16.7 metres tall, the gigantic structure boasts a merchandise and gift shop as well as a picturesque views of blue skies and sprawling farm fields.

Farmers in the area struggled for years to successfully grow crops until the first pineapple was planted in 1865 and their worries disappeared.

The Bathurst ‘Pineapple’ is constructed from a fibreglass outer skin covering a steel and concrete superstructure.

You can find it on the outskirts of Bathurst just off the R67, just 15km from Port Alfred.


4. The Bosjes Chapel, Wellington

At the foot of Waaihoek Mountain in the beautiful Breeze Valley lies the architectural masterpiece that is the Bosjes Chapel.

The striking white, clean-cut curves of the chapel, which has glass walls that let all the light of the valley in, are a beautiful sight to behold.

Settled between two still bodies of water with a stone path leading directly to its entrance, the chapel is a picturesque venue for a wedding reception.

Designed by Steyn Studio of London, this memorable building manages to look at home amongst the rolling hills of Bosses.


5. The Shoe, Mpumalanga


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On the border of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces along the panoramic route, a very unique museum in a shoe awaits travellers.

Reminiscent of the classic nursery rhyme ‘The Old Lady That Lived In The Shoe’, this unusual building houses not only a museum but also an art gallery that boasts the artworks of owner and artist Ron van Zyl.

The Shoe is part of a bigger project which includes a campsite and a chalet guest house, a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a shop.

Tourists come from far and wide to visit not just The Shoe but The Alpha Omega Cave which is situated on the same grounds.




Picture: SafariNow



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