Zip Zap Academy in Cape Town


The NMC Construction Group’s design and construct portfolio showcases design flare, drawing inspiration from the magical world of the circus. Zip Zap Circus has long dreamed of having a permanent home, now this dream is fast becoming a reality with construction of a R23, 5 million circus academy in Salt River well underway. In partnership with Zip Zap Circus, Tsai Design Studio and Sutherland Engineers, the NMC Design and Construct team collaborated on the design of the new academy which mirrors the magical essence of the circus. Construction of the 2 200m² structure, comprising of a three storey concrete structure with steel portal structure making up an impressive trapeze hall commenced in September 2016. The new academy is scheduled to open its doors in July 2017. Sutherland Engineers came on board the project offering a full civils, structural and mechanical engineering service, ensuring a seamless integration of the planning for both the design and construction of the project. The design, by Tsai Design Studio, captures the essence of the three inherent architectural typologies of the project; the circus, the academy and the theatre. The street façade is designed to generate maximum visual impact with the form sculpted to create an angular street façade, which is clad with brightly coloured steel fins that references the iconic circus tents. In line with Zip Zap Circus School’s unique learning approach of empowering self-discovery, the design aims to immerse the children in the full circus experience. The structure is arranged like a theatre to highlight the drama and excitement of circus training with a triple volume Trapeze Hall taking Centre stage. Multi-functional training spaces provide the space and flexibility to host events, whilst classrooms and offices have direct visual connection with the training spaces. Zip Zap is a social circus academy that was founded in Cape Town in 1992. Zip Zap is dedicated to supporting and conducting training in circus arts and performance to diverse community of children. The Zip Zap’s “dare to dream” philosophy is a powerful tool for social transformation, youth empowerment, team building and community upliftment. Zip Zap was founded in Cape Town in 1992, to inspire young people and help build a new culture of peaceful coexistence in South Africa. Working with a diverse community of children from all backgrounds, Zip Zap helps kids to ‘dare to dream’ and learn to make those dreams a reality. Zip Zap’s programs are all free to participants, with financial and material support coming from individuals, organization, corporations and foundations. In South Africa and the world, Zip Zap is recognized across Governments, Ministries of Education, Tourism, Arts & Culture and private societies, as a major contributor to the development within the iconic ‘Mother City’ and providing sustainability of the circus arts in South Africa.

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