The Limpopo Valley may be one of the most remote and isolated places in South Africa. The huge Mapungubwe National Park is located at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. This park is a property of the South African National Parks Authority who commissioned the Interpretation Centre which celebrates the ancient civilisation of Mapungubwe, linked to the Great Zimbabwe. The rocky landscape is a result of geological events that reshaped the area.
The plan for the Centre takes inspiration from a motif etched on stones uncovered on the site at Mapungubwe Hill, a World Heritage site located at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. Exhibition and learning spaces take the form of ten free-form vaults, the largest of which spans 14.5 metres, and a number of regular barrel vaults and domes which are arranged in a triangular layout linked together by ramped walkways. The vaulting method used relies on fast-setting gypsum mortar and earth tiles laid on edge. Low environmental impact is achieved through employing local labour and materials.