P R O J E C T S

Lilliesleaf
Rivonia, Johannesburg, South Africa
Completed 2008

"Liliesleaf is uniquely connected with the Rivonia trial - which came to represent the essence of the liberation struggle and focused world attention on South Africa. The media surrounding the trial and the harsh sentencing of the accused catapulted the atrocities of South Africa onto the international stage. The trialists became international icons of a struggle against an oppressive regime.

In addition, Liliesleaf Farm is acknowledged to be the birth place of MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe - Spear of the Nation). MK was the military wing of the ANC, and the farm was the nerve centre from which the MK leadership planned the struggle for liberation and justice. It was at Liliesleaf farm where the high command met to plan Operation Mayibuye - the plan to overthrow the apartheid regime. The outhouse buildings on Liliesleaf housed the printing presses which were producing freedom literature; and it was from the brick structure that the inhabitants of the farm broadcast the first test of radio freedom using the lightening conductor as an Arial transmitter" Trustees of the Liliesleaf Trust.

"In psychology, memory is an organism's mental ability to store, retain and recall information"

The historical significance and the gravity of the events that took place at Liliesleaf posed a challenge to the design team to create a place that celebrates the events rather than structure, a place of dignity and memory. The layers of history were to be laid bare, stripped of careless and ignorant additions and modifications. The scars of these modifications would be the only visible evidence of their existence. The landscape would be seen as a healer and moderator. The landscape would become a place for movement and rest, engagement with content and retreat for reflection and memory. New buildings were to be designed as foils, containers of knowledge and definers of place which move over and under the landscape - part of the landscape.

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