The Great Hall

Location: Mpumalanga, South Africa
Client:  University of Mpumalanga
Start Date: February 2023
Size: ±12 000m2
Project Team: Ludwig Hansen, Günther Wagner, Jessica Thomson, Michael Watson, Candice Janse Van Rensburg Nave, Alexander Thomson

University of Mpumalanga – The Great Hall

The Great Hall is one of three buildings forming the first development of the new west campus at the University of Mpumalanga. The precinct is nestled in an existing citrus orchard. 


The Great Hall is positioned within these orchards at the highest point of the campus, with site falling to the lower watercourse creating a natural procession down the slope of the site. The front lobby of the building looks down onto a large open public square and garden framed by the other two buildings.


The route entering the building is intended to be experiential with the surrounding spaces taking reference from natural settings that imbue spatial qualities familiar with the natural landscape of Mpumalanga; the kloof, the tree canopy, the rhythmic lanes of passing orchards, the darkness of caves, the richness of the geological landscapes and the vivid expanse of the sky.


The project brief consists of a central 1200 seater auditorium, 2 large external event spaces and a grand lobby space that doubles as an exam venue. Flanked on either side of the auditorium are two mirrored annex blocks containing academic support and office facilities.


Transparency between the external public and the internal private programs of the auditorium are explored in the design. As an example, the conventional stage becomes an extension out into the public space overlooking the campus square and greater Mpumalanga landscape.

Construction is set to begin in February 2023 and will be completed in mid 2025.