Travel

TAKE A LOOK | This new Dinosaur centre in the Free State, worth R83.5m, will be complete soon

Business Insider SA
Mountain overlooking the centre (Supplied)
Mountain overlooking the centre (Supplied)
  • The new Dinosaur Interpretive Centre at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in Clarens, Free State, is almost complete and will soon be ready for guests to learn the history of dinosaurs in the area.
  • According to GVK-Siya Zama, the company responsible for construction of the centre, bringing the building to life cost R83,5 million.
  • Architectural features of the building include brickwork that resembles the scales of a dinosaur.
  • The centre will be used as an interactive museum as well as a scientific research station aimed at preserving the remains of the archaeological site.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The new Dinosaur Interpretive Centre at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in Clarens, Free State, is nearing its completion and will display unique brickwork and design elements to help tell the story of the history of dinosaurs in the area.  

The building, which was commission by SANParks andcosts R83,5 million, is expected to be a significant architectural and construction achievement with unique design elements that include exterior patterns that resemble dinosaur scales, thanks to the intricate brickwork.

Artists impression of visitors at the centre (Supp
Artists impression of visitors at the centre (Supplied)
Exterior of the centre with brickwork that resembl
Exterior of the centre with brickwork that resembles scales of a dinosaur (Supplied)

The centre is expected to serve as an interactive museum as well as a scientific research station aimed at preserving the remains of the archaeological site where one of the oldest known dinosaur nesting grounds was discovered in 2012.

Interior of the centre where guests can interact w
Interior of the centre where guests can interact with remains of dinosaurs in the centre (Supplied)

Brickwork inside the centre resemble scales of a d
Brickwork inside the centre resemble scales of a dinosaur (Supplied)

Matthew Simmonds, contracts director of GVK-Siya Zama, said the architectural design, with brickwork that resembles dinosaur scales, presented a unique challenge for the construction team.

“The centre is situated at the bottom of a massive sandstone rock outcrop and the face brick used for construction had to be strategically selected to match the colour of the sandstone, with a view to matching and enhancing the beauty and aesthetics of the landscape.

“The building also has rooftop vegetation to further ensure it merges with the surrounding landscape.”

Mountain overlooking the centre (Supplied)
Mountain overlooking the centre (Supplied)
Play area outside the centre for kids to play (Sup
Play area outside the centre for kids to play (Supplied)

Construction started in 2019 and the company managed to reach its practical completion in March this year. Although the pandemic presented delays and challenges of its own, GVK-Siya Zama handed over the building in March and has since been conducting additional work on the interior of the building.

Exterior of the centre (Supplied)
Exterior of the centre (Supplied)
Interior of the centre (Supplied)
Interior of the centre (Supplied)

Inside the centre, visitors can expect to see an exhibition floor and state-of-the-art laboratories, which make up about 2,500m2 of floor space. 

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