Javett Art Centre


MAAA - Javett Art Centre at UP - Icon

Overall view

The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria consists of a public art gallery and Mapungubwe museum linked to an open museum square which includes a restaurant and outdoor exhibition space located in a publicly accessible portion of the University’s South Campus. The gallery extends over Lynnwood road with a bridge gallery which includes a pedestrian concourse, stitching together the University’s Hatfield Campus and South Campus and touching down on a new University art square positioned above a new student gallery.

Bridge gallery stitching two campuses

The Javett Art Centre at UP provides a public showcase for our national treasures elevating art firmly into the public domain while celebrating and extending the original historic ‘Tukkielaan’ over Lynwood Road, strengthening the cultural spine of the University of Pretoria.

The pattern of the sunscreen panels on the western side of the bridge provides a cooling solar filter for the building, is a graphic representation of the Shweshwe cloth fabric which has been a part of South African life. This blue fabric has always been a great binding element in South Africa, proving to be very popular with people from all cultures, backgrounds and walks of life – Pedi (shweshwe), Indian (printed), English and Afrikaans (sislap). The ever-changing shadow patterns on the walls and floors reminds us of how much we all have in common

The Mapungubwe Mountain

The second dominant feature of this complex is the Mapungubwe mountain. Juxtaposed against the bridge and located alongside Lynnwood road the shear mass and solidity of this iconic structure will establish its dominance as a new city landmark

These Mapungubwe national treasures of the golden rhino, scepter, cow and leopard will be housed inside this abstract architectural interpretation of the Mapungubwe hill. This solid, iconic, sculptural, vault-like structure were molded using custom formed shuttering.

Public Space

The complex includes two open squares; the museum square and the art square. The museum square will be located on the southern side of Lynnwood road in front of the main entrance. A natural gathering zone, this space is directly accessible to the public, serving the restaurant and playing host to various public functions and events. The main public entrance is located from this square.

In addition to the 9 galleries, the complex also includes a 115-seat auditorium, administrative offices, storage, art conservation and quarantine areas as well as a high-end restaurant serving the art complex while looking out over the picturesque Boys High grounds and opening up onto the Centre’s main public museum square.

The art square will be located where the bridge gallery touches down on the University’s Hatfield campus, forming a raised focal culmination point along the University’s culturally historic ‘Tukkielaan‘ route. The University is well known for its sculptor alumni and it is envisaged that this square could also play host to international sculptural exhibitions and competitions. The space below the square will form a student gallery which will create a direct link between the faculties of the Built environment and Visual arts, thereby bringing together these two creative fields.

What it houses

The Javett Art Centre at UP will house some of the finest works from the collections of the Javett Foundation Trust and the University of Pretoria as well as various temporary special exhibitions. The southern gallery wing will house the private donor collections, including the private collection of the Javett Foundation Trust – the seed donor. The bridge gallery section is positioned alongside the pedestrian concourse with an entrance into the gallery, thereby daily directly exposing the passing pedestrians to art, architecture and academic works. This dynamic gallery space will exhibit various travelling exhibitions as well as selections of the students’ own works of art, graphics, architecture and even projects of a more academic nature from various faculties.

Mapungubwe has always had a very strong connection with the University of Pretoria – both archaeologically and even architecturally – and by providing this fitting setting for these treasures, these pieces can now be proudly displayed to the world as a celebration of Africa’s rich history.

The Javett Art Centre at UP provides a valuable contribution to the University, the city, and the country through the reactivation and unification of the University, the cultural enrichment and education of the city, and the international attraction of an uplifting national celebration of our rich African past.