Guga S' Thebe Theater, Cape Town, South Africa

Guga S' Thebe Theater

The Art and Culture Center Guga S'Thebe was built in Langa, Cape Town in 2006 as part of an initiative of RWTH Aachen. However, the center lacked a performance and concert space and so the decision was made to build the Guga S'Thebe Children's Theater nearby. Numerous institutions participated in the design, planning, and execution of the project in addition to RWTH including the Peter Behrens School of Arts in Dusseldorf and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The goal was a multifunctional space for up to 200 people and built primarily of local, traditional and recycled materials, including shipping containers, which were available at low cost.
The climate in Cape Town is considered moderate, yet the temperature ranges from below freezing in winter to 35 °C in summer. Therefore, a design adapted to the location, weather and available materials was necessary.
Transsolar developed and contributed pro bono a climate concept based exclusively on passive measures and supported by thermal and daylight simulations. To naturally ventilate the theater and to provide a comfortable climate, flaps for supply and exhaust air were installed in the facade on the ground and first floors. As the sun rises high in the summer, the extended roof provides effective shading. Due to its design, the high roof transfers little heat into the interior and dissipates all absorbed solar radiation to the outside air. The outer walls of the containers were insulated using pre-fabricated 90 x 90 cm modules made of a milled straw-loam mixture. The additional thermal mass dampens temperature fluctuations in both summer and winter and helps to ensure an optimal indoor climate. The outermost façade, consisting of recycled boards from fruit crates is ventilated and protects against the weather.