Conceptualised by the V&A Waterfront in consultation with Heatherwick Studio, the museum is housed in a building that had humble beginnings as part of an industrial shipping facility in the Cape Town Harbour. The almost 100-year-old grain silo today has an entirely new purpose as custodian of some of the most important contemporary artwork on the African continent.
The grain silo's architectural redevelopment from disused industrial building into a contemporary art museum was undertaken by London-based Heatherwick Studio in conjunction with local South African architects. The galleries and the cathedral-like atrium space at the centre of the museum have been literally carved from the silos' dense cellular structure of forty-two tubes that pack the building. The development includes 6,000m2 of exhibition space in 100 galleries, a rooftop sculpture garden, art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant and bar, and various reading rooms.
Zeitz MOCAA acknowledges new mediums through the establishment of different centres and institutes within the overall museum: Centres for a Costume Institute, Photography, Curatorial Excellence, the Moving Image, Performative Practice and Art Education.