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Life and Times of Die Braak Pavilion

The inaugural Die Braak Pavilion is situated on the Braak, Stellenbosch’s town square. Conceived by architect Pieter Mattews, the structure is made from recycled material, erected by Triennale partners’ the CS Property Group. The Pavillion will continue to evolve over the coming weeks through the participation of students, artists and the local community.

Die Braak

Ironically, the name means fallow land, a description often used in post-apocalyptic art and movies, here reminding us that if we do not care for our planet, it eventually will become braak. Echoing the theme of the Triennale, Tomorrow There Will Be More Of Us, the intervention invited participants to ultimately determine the aesthetic of the Pavilion, just as our choices will determine the “tomorrow” of our planet.

The Pavilion is a fusion between the disciplines of public art, sculpture and architecture. The Pavilion can be considered the “armature” or skeleton which keeps the conceptual notions upright and “grows” throughout the Triennale as people participate in its making. An afterlife for the Pavilion is envisaged: as a playground for a crèche or perhaps a shading device for local crafters. Conversations around everyday materials and their afterlives are integral to the message the Pavilion portrays.

Pavillion Curator Pieter Mathews with Chief Curator Khanyisile Mbongwa and Yolandi Vorster from MAA
Pavillion Curator Pieter Mathews with Chief Curator Khanyisile Mbongwa and Yolandi Vorster from MAA

Embodied experience

The notion of “embodied experience”, explained by architectural theorist Juhaani Pallasma as a full sensory experience in time and place, is the foundation of the Pavilion. It is intended as a space to be experienced, to be interacted with and contributed to.


By providing only the armature as defined structure, the Pavilion encourages local artists and the community to participate in the filling in of the Pavilion. Waste materials such as discarded fishing nets, ropes, plastic bags and nylon packaging will be woven and knotted as infill material. The reuse of waste material will communicate the value of waste and the future of a waste economy. The Pavilion stands as a metaphor for the future of our planet’s depleting resources and the value of what we today refer to as “waste”.

Hannes Pickard, France Beyers and Triennale partner Cobus Smit of CS Property
Hannes Pickard, France Beyers and Triennale partner Cobus Smit of CS Property

By assuming the role of facilitator, rather than that of author, the architects allow the edifice to become a catalyst for a larger message belonging to the greater community.


The participatory process of the inaugural architectural Pavilion will be documented as testimony to the potential for symbiosis between creatives and observers, the planet and the people.

Visit Die Braak Pavillion on Stellenbosch’s town square, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on the evolution of this landmark project.

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