"Malapa" Hominid Fossil Site Cover + Visitors' Platform
University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg, South Africa
Krynauw Nel Associates
Craig Harrison PM
“Australopithecus sediba” – arguably the most important hominid fossil - was discovered at "Malapa", a sensitive game reserve and UNESCO Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. This small, steel, insect-like structure is designed to be a lightweight, 85% recyclable platform for visitors to the location, and for a one ton manual crane used by scientists to inspect the site. To preserve the site no foundations were permitted, and suitable rock footings for the platform ‘legs’ could only be approved by scientists during construction – ensuring that it does not damage the sensitive area even after it is removed.
The judges felt the innovative design was an impressive reflection of what can be achieved when engineers work in harmony with nature to develop a solution which both celebrates and preserves the fragility of the environment.