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24-Hour Space Weather Center

Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa

2022 - Completed

The new Space Weather Centre building which houses the control hub for the Southern Hemisphere was inspired by the beautiful magnetic fields that are observed by its scientists. These evocative elliptical curves and solar flares informed a unique building. Key areas were celebrated with sculptural volumes and spaces which can be seen in the main entrance, lecture hall and boardrooms.

The approach to the building is along a gradual ramp leading the user into a dark lobby with a circular glowing orb overhead - a moment in space. The visitor is welcomed into a generous foyer with an expressive ceiling comprising of suspended circular acoustic panels and lights. The main control centre can be viewed through a glass wall, where scientists can be observed monitoring space weather data on a large curved screen.

The office wing comprises cellular and open plan offices, boardrooms, a staff kitchenette, a large server room, staff ablutions and sleeping pods.

The large 100 seater lecture hall, with its slot windows, allows for key views to the ocean coastline in the distance.

The new precinct includes a new guest accommodation building, where visiting scientists and professors can stay for short or long periods of time. A new generator and transformer building allows the entire SANSA property to be operational 24/7 during power outages.

Challenges during the design phase of the building, were the need to work within an extremely tight budget and the need to limit the use of any metal or steel in the project. Metal roofing was unadvised due to the highly sensitive nature of the equipment on the SANSA property.


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