Storm warning: a theatre of atmospherics

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This document begins with a theory paper written in the first half of this year before moving on to images, charts, and graphs that have informed and inspired my project. It then offers answers to these fundamental questions relating to my chosen design project: Where? Why? What? and How? Before I move on to this, a brief description of the final design direction to locate the reader... The construction of a Theatre of Atmospherics located at the main breakwater of Cape Town harbour. This Theatre consists of four elements;, _a weather device; _a research facility for the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP); _a 'shifting' communal space for the research facility; and the theatre itself. The weather device is located at the end of the breakwater. It is a visual communicator that once again connects the people of Cape Town with the sea through its foreshadowing of the weather. The SANAP research facility is composed of office space, research labs, meeting spaces, conference facilities and a visitor centre and is located along , and protected by , the breakwater. The shifting communal space runs on tracks along the breakwater and is controlled by the ebb and flow of the tides. It is a resource centre for the research labs. During severe storm events it shifts to the landward end of the breakwater, closing it off to the public and activating the theatre. The above elements find a connector in the theatre. This is a space located at the entrance to the breakwater. It houses machinery (cogs, wheels, pulleys and ropes) that connect the weather device to the shifting communal space. It forms an entrance gateway to the breakwater which now becomes open to the public. The machinery forms a mechanical expression of the weather as registered by the weather device . During severe storm events the shifting communal space of the research facility gets pulled all the way to the theatre , closing the breakwater off whilst completing and activating the theatre. The theatre now becomes a stage to present all the work the SANAP researchers have been doing in Antarctica , displaying their findings to the public making them aware not only of the beauty and fragility of Antarctica , but also of its effect on the weather in Cape Town