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Adjaye Associates Reveals the New Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library in Johannesburg

The firm describes it as “a space of excellence, learning, research, discourse and cultural exchange predicated on the African perspective,” the presidential library is planned for Riviera, a suburb of Johannesburg. Flanked by a public plaza, the interconnected cylindrical forms—eight in total—that top the long, tilted base of the building are meant to evoke grain storage structures in a metaphorical nod to the library’s function as a place to seek “knowledge-based nourishment.” Spread out across just over 52,000 square feet, the library will serve up quite the feast. In addition to the aforementioned museum and research center, the facility will also house an exhibition space, a women’s empowerment center, auditorium, cafe, seminar facilities, administrative offices, “digital experience space,” reading rooms, and an archival hub that will hold artifacts and key documents of Mbeki as well as other significant African historical figures.