UCT – Chris Hani Theatre Redevelopment and Foodcourt

The Chris Hani Lecture Theatre (formerly the New Science Lecture Theatre) was seen as an underutilised learning space on Upper Campus. The steep raked theatre was not in keeping with contemporary learning requirements. With this in mind Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers (Pty) Ltd was approached to look at readapting  the space and building for contemporary learning standards conducive to student-led learning initiatives, mentoring & peer tutoring. The Faculty of Science is a key tenant. The Science Faculty’s current academic objective is to improve the graduation rates of those students that enter the undergraduate programme, particularly those from a poor socio-economic backgrounds. This has driven the building brief to create contemporary spaces that stimulate innovative teaching and learning experiences.     

Built in 1948, the Chris Hani Building (formerly the New Science Lecture Theatre) is being repurposed for new contemporary learning spaces. Renaming the building after Chris Hani is part of UCT’s project to create a more inclusive and representative institution.  The original architecture attempts to marry the Modernist style with a typical campus typology. In accordance with heritage requirements, the re adaption acknowledges the University Avenue’s layering overtime. In addition, the new architectural response includes a major reconfiguration of the internal arrangement whiles retaining key heritage elements. The repurposed building includes a variety of learning spaces, including a student concession area with outdoor courtyard, a formal lecture venue at basement level. The upper two floors accommodate the Science Learning Centre and associated Science Faculty Administrative Office suite Constrained on all sides by University Avenue, Chemistry Mall, John Day and the Molecular Biology buildings, the roof breaks through to catch light and ventilation, making a new mark on the University Avenue campus story. P

The University of Cape Town (UCT) approached Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers (Pty) Ltd to consider underutilised interstitial spaces on Upper Campus, University Avenue (2015), the CHLT Foodcourt being one such space. The brief extended to include the Chris Hani Lecture Theatre Redevelopment during 2016. The entire concept was presented to UB&DC 17 August 2017 and approved with comments pertaining to site access during construction. Due to mitigating expenditure, the two projects were kept separate until full capex was approved in mid- 2018. A project team kick start meeting was held 31 July 2018. Here the two projects have been merged into one project for moving forward with council submission, approvals and construction documentation. To date the critical path item rests with heritage approval.

Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers (Pty) Ltd has been appointed by the University of Cape Town to provide the architectural design services for this project on a stage to stage basis. The programmatic brief calls for 1) large lecture venue, 2) Student concession area related to Foodcourt to provide such a space on the north of the campus 3) Bookable flat floor learning spaces conducive to student-led learning initiatives, mentoring & peer tutoring for all faculties 4)  Science Learning Centre  5)  associated Science Faculty Administrative Office . The gross construction areas approx area is 3300 m² (CHLT Redevelopment) and 436 m² (Foodcourt).

CLIENT: University of Cape Town


STATUS: In progress

DATE: 2019