Residents of Pretoria woke up to a new landmark on Lynnwood Road on Monday morning.
Commencing at 04:00 on Saturday, 12 August, seven massive beams, each 33,55 m in length and weighing 71 tons, were installed to construct a bridge across Lynnwood Road. This forms part of a major new development in the City of Tshwane, the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (UP) (the Javett-UP).
The work, undertaken by a large team of engineers and construction workers, took 26 hours to complete. This development is a major milestone in the establishment of the state-of-the-art Javett-UP, which started in 2013 when the project, made possible by a generous donation from the Javett Foundation, was approved by the University Council.
The 34 meter long, 20 meter wide bridge gallery will link the city with a multi-disciplinary space, forging new possibilities at the intersection of academia, the public, and the visual and performing arts community.
Construction of the bridge in Lynnwood Road on 12 August 2017. Photos by Alet Pretorius.
Designed by Mathews and Associates Architects, the Javett-UP will become a focal point for the art of Africa, consisting of nine indoor exhibition spaces, a restaurant, a 117-seat auditorium, a museum square, an art conservation area and an outdoor exhibition venue. Included in the permanent exhibition will be the iconic Mapungubwe Archeological Collection and the Javett Foundation's extensive collection of modern South African masterpieces. The bridge gallery extending across Lynnwood Road will link the Centre with an arts square and a student gallery situated on UP's Hatfield Campus.
Once completed, design elements will include a graphic representation of Shweshwe patterning on the western side of the bridge and a sculptural 'vault' housing the Mapungubwe collection. The 'vault' references the Mapungubwe mountain and will feature recesses on the concrete surfaces molded with custom-formed shuttering.
The Javett-UP is set to become an iconic feature on the capital city's landscape, attracting art lovers, local residents and tourists alike and providing a unique resource for academics, researchers, students and learners.