Platinum Museum



During the past decades a growing platinum industry has transformed the Rustenburg crater environment in South Africa. Some measure of economic development from the mines is in evidence, but against a backdrop of negative impacts on the natural environment and socio-economic tensions around the mines. The Client’s background lay in tourism, and he sought, with this project, to contextualize aspects of the platinum mining industry for the benefits of tourists who are drawn to region by natural and cultural heritage attractions already on offer.

Set against a hillside, this design draws inspiration form the industrial engineering of a platinum mine,and the subsequent process of refinement and beneficiation of one of the

world’s rare, precious metals. Thus the visitor’s route emulates a process extraction through refining to beneficiation: The route starts with a passageway carved into the hillside under the building, within a labyrinth of props detailed in raw steel, (an emulation of the raw character of the mining stopes along the platinum veins, where the mineral sparkles in its black ore in a forest of timber props, deep underground), and then follows through spaces which become increasingly light, and are marked by increasing architectural refinement, until they terminate in the upper glazed galleries, where a high-tech architecture sets the stage for the display of platinum jewellery and cutting-edge industrial products, and panorama windows afford views over the transforming landscape.