Proposal was for 60m cliff-side building in shape of Nelson Mandela’s head
A Dutch architect has spoken of the “brutal” response to his attempt to honour Nelson Mandela with a 60m-high cliff-edge building in the shape of the late president’s head.
Ramon Knoester of WHIM Architecture in Rotterdam said he hoped to start a conversation about the best way to honour the legendary South African leader who died last week.
“But we received so much negative input that there was no discussion,” he admitted.
“It was very brutal. We are disappointed but for now the project it on hold.”
WHIM was commissioned at the time of Mandela’s 95th birthday in July by a Dutch charity which reconditions bicycles for the developing world, said Knoester. The brief was to explore appropriate ways of honouring Mandela.
WHIM’s proposal was for a 30m by 60m building in the shape of Mandela’s head that would be built into the side of a mountain above Cape Town, possibly Devil’s Peak near Table Mountain. This would give it spectacular views out to sea and over Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for many years.
Facilities inside the building could include exhibition space, a congress centre, theatre, education centre and restaurant with panoramic terrace.
A giant statue of Mandela would fill the interior, acting as its core.
From below the building would look green because its facade would be covered in vegetation. Solar panels on the top of Mandela’s head would power the building and possibly nearby neighbourhoods, said Knoester.