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Media Release: Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre's architect wins World Building of the Year Award

13 November 2009

South African architect Peter Rich has won this year's World Building of the Year Award for his Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in the Mapungubwe National Park.

The Interpretation Centre is set on the side of a mesa, formed from the dramatic geological events that resulted in the Limpopo River changing its course from flowing into the Atlantic Ocean to discharging into the Indian Ocean. The Mapungubwe National Park celebrates the site of an ancient civilization linked to the Great Zimbabwe trading culture in the context of a natural setting that re-establishes the indigenous fauna and flora of this region.

This Centre is a poverty relief project using ecological methods and materials. The project’s agenda extended beyond the presentation of ancient and more recent history of the area to awaken an understanding of the vulnerability of the local ecology. These objectives were manifested in the construction process of the Centre in which unemployed local people were trained in the manufacture of stabilised earth tiles and in building the timbrel vaults.

The Centre is scheduled to be in operation as early as next year, some of the materials that will be on display include the famous Golden rhino and clay pots. The Center will give both day and overnight visitors a tour showcasing the amazing landscapes that the National Park has to offer.

Issued by:

Cassius Selala: Regional Communications Officer, South African National Parks, tel: (012) 426 5195 or 078 223 6682,

Media Enquiries:

Ms. wanda mkutshulwa, Head of Communications, South African National Parks, tel: (012) 426 5201, cell: 082 908 2692, e-mail: