Category | Steel

ArcelorMittal steel used in iconic South African building

The Soweto Theatre, which was built using ArcelorMittal steel, was named a finalist in the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2012 Awards.

The Soweto Theatre was one of three finalists in the “completed cultural buildings” category at last month’s WAF Awards.

The 700-seat venue, designed by Afritects, is in the heart of the culturally rich area of Jabulani precinct. It is Soweto’s first public theatre.

Our company’s steel was used to build the building’s striking curved facades, as Afritects’ Sergio Duarte explained:

“One of the most astonishing features of the theatre, and arguably the most daunting to achieve, is the theatres’ curved walls. The edges of the theatre complex are defined by two curving fortress walls containing the three theatre boxes and all other ancillary spaces. The intention was to create iconic structures unlike anything previously seen in Soweto”.

The design of the walls required the cladding system to curve both horizontally and vertically, creating a parabolic shape; the cladding also needed to withstand the harsh South African sun. ArcelorMittal provided the modular panels, which could be adjusted on site. Some of the steel parts were pre-fabricated in the plant, cutting construction time and costs and contributing to cleaner, less hazardous working conditions on site.

The steel shingle cladding, chosen for its flexibility and robustness, was applied in multiple layers, providing heat and sound insulation as well as making the structure watertight. The strength of the steel shingle finish will ensure that the Soweto Theatre remains an icon for many generations to come.

“ArcelorMittal in South Africa is proud to have been associated with the development of the Soweto Theatre. This amazing facade using steel should encourage building owners, architects, designers, financers, users and all other stakeholders to consider not only the construction cost per square metre, but also the environmental impact of the structure and the social benefit of having an iconic building in a community such as Soweto,” said ArcelorMittal project manager Thierry Poitel.

More than 300 projects in 33 categories were shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival Awards. They were judged in a live competition over the course of a three-day festival, with the winners of each category competing for the World Building of the Year award.

The award in the “completed cultural buildings” category went to the Liyuan Library, Beijing, China, while the World Building of the Year Award went to the Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

This stunning photograph of the Soweto Theatre by Samantha Wilke of Awesam Photography recently won the first prize of R10 000 in SAISC’s Steel Awards Photo Competition at the South African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) awards held in September 2012.