WAN Awards: 2017 Winner – Best Performance Space


The Market Theatre founded in Johannesburg in 1976 was constructed out of Johannesburg’s Indian Fruit Market – built in 1913. The Market Theatre’s history is intertwined with the cultural, social and political struggle for freedom in South Africa.

KMH Architects’ design recognised the site’s existing building fabric and used these structures as a device to create spaces that would relate appropriately in scale to the square and surrounding buildings. The accommodation area totals 5500m2. It is designed to express sensitively the tectonics of the robust urban Johannesburg aesthetic with a strong focus on public interface and allow Mary Fitzgerald Square to engage with the inner courtyards of the building.

The concept revolves around a central gathering space that serves as the heart of design and is the meeting ground between the Market Theatre Laboratory and Market Photo Workshop identities. The KMH conceptual response is based on 7 principles:

Refocus / Regeneration: – A development which documents and acknowledges the past and provides a hub for theatre and photographic patrons and the general public and is a catalyst for inner city rejuvenation.

Revitalize: – The development allows for a series of multi-purposes structures, systems and spaces accommodating future needs of performance and exhibition.

Reconnect: – A development which repairs the fabric of the inner city that became derelict over the years.

Reinterpret: – A development which allows the theatre and city to become an integral part of a post-apartheid society.

Reciprocal: – A development which gives back to the city with its internal public square and values interdependence and supports inclusivity.

Reinvigorate: – A development which creates meaningful bonds between performance and experience.

Remembrance: – A development which embraces the old apartheid heritage structures and commemorates what was a shadow within the new facility.