Old Granary gets a revamp

2018-12-04 06:01
Mayco member for assets and facilities management, James Vos, conducted a site visit last week to view the project and meet the team and staff at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

Mayco member for assets and facilities management, James Vos, conducted a site visit last week to view the project and meet the team and staff at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

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The Old Granary building is sporting a new look.

The revamp of the Old Granary building, another grand old dame that graces the Cape Town urban landscape, has been completed.

The major refurbishment work started in 2016 as part of the City of Cape Town’s vision to restore and preserve the external façade, and rehabilitate internal spaces with careful and sensitive consideration of its heritage significance.

The building has been refurbished specifically for the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and is being used as office space, a peace centre, an archive centre and a museum.

Mayco member for assets and facilities management, James Vos, conducted a site visit last week to view the project, as well as meet the project team and staff at the foundation.

An important part of the restoration was the installation of a permanent exhibition that captures the rich history of the building, and its various uses and functions. In addition, a detailed description of the restoration process and the materials has also been included, which many visitors will find quite fascinating.

Vos says: “The Old Granary is steeped in history. If the walls could talk, you would go back in time to more than 200 years ago to get a feel for the people who lived and worked in this building. The internal spaces have not been glossed over but instead have been well preserved to showcase the building’s heritage status in its original condition. All aspects, even down to the original cracks and chips in the floor and on the walls, were preserved, which is what gives this build its unique character.”

The foundation’s exhibition space, a permanent installation, is up and running. It displays the original handwritten manuscripts and memos of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Additionally, the City has also installed a permanent exhibition that showcases the history of the building as it relates to the development of Cape Town. Both exhibitions flow seamlessly from one to the other and complement each other.

The Old Granary was built between 1811 and 1813 using locally made bricks that were of poor quality at the time. During the 18th and 19th centuries, to address the problem of poor quality, the foundations and walls were built with quarried slate that was also known as Cape Town bluestone.

During former times, the Old Granary served a variety of purposes such as a customs house for the handling of imports and exports; as a magistrate’s court; as the town granary that aimed to ensure food security at the time and provide affordable daily bread; as a house of correction, or more simply put as a women’s prison; and as a Public Works Department building that accommodated the offices of civil engineers who were responsible for the infrastructure development of the Cape’s urban landscape.

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