If you live in Cape Town and drive a car, you’ll have driven past Customs House many times as you set off away from the city on Nelson Mandela Boulevard. It’s on the harbour side of the elevated freeway, and as you drive past, you may have spotted a portion of an interesting blue tile mosaic, frustratingly screened from view by the sides of the road. It’s a place where asylum seekers make application for permits, and where goods coming into the country are examined by officials, and chances are, unless you are an official or an asylum seeker, you’ve never been to visit.
Lucky for us, last week, Ilze Woolf of OH Architecture organised a tour of Customs House as part of her OH Thursday tour series. A large group of architectural geeks and enthusiasts took the opportunity to traipse up and down 14 floors of institutional staircases and miles of dingy bureaucratic corridors, examining the relentless lines, glazed blue tile detail and domed hall with beautiful relief panels in this 1972-built Brutalist building, gawping all the while at the incredible views of harbour, city and mountain.
Hope you enjoy my version of the tour. You’ll probably notice that I rather liked those blue tiles.
Thanks to Ilze Woolff and OH Architecture for this tour series. I count the OH Thursday tours I’ve been on (see more of my pics here) as some of the best things I’ve ever participated in and look forward to whatever comes next.