Makoya Makaraba Designs

Freelance graphic designer, Michael Souter, based in Cape Town, is an intensely passionate designer, obsessed with creating great work for great clients. With 30 years of experience, he will help your business grow through strong dynamic graphic design that aims to achieve the desired awareness and branding that you desire.


PO Box 160 Constantia I Cape Town 7848 I South Africa I +27 82 9252537 I

© Copyright 2014 Michael Souter. All rights reserved.

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Reimagining an icon
Media 24
By Michael Souter and Terry Levin

The concept:


From the outset it was our intention to put Cape Town's people at the center of our design - creating an interplay of how people interact with the Media24 building and brand and vice versa.
While the original building may have been designed as a gateway, the gates were closed to most. We are proposing that Media24 building is transformed to reach out into public space. This will be achieved by softening the outdated, severe slab silhouette - that does not fit well within the beautiful environment of sea and mountain anyway – to achieve a more modern democratic and organic form that communicates outreach, upliftment, transparency and welcome:

• inviting participation
• communicating accessibility
• providing inspiration and motivation

Cape Town architecture is mostly exclusive – i.e. seen as only for a privileged few, not welcoming to everyone else. The new Foreshore precinct will change that dynamic, rethinking new inclusive civic spaces.

Our design aims to make the Media 24 building a flagship example of this new inclusive thinking.


In the attached sketches the original building, reminiscent of a “totem pole” shape, now extends and reaches out. The elevation has been softened/feathered/given wings, via an upswept frame, symbolic of a bird rising, providing an updraft to the old structure, communicating its new purpose as uplifting and inspiring the “wind beneath the wings” and the “open arms” to Cape Town creativity and business.


It is recommended that the Media24 building become Cape Town’s answer to The Empire State Building in New York – with areas of access open to all, separate from the business entrance - a destination, a focal point, an icon, beautiful from all angles and in all light conditions.

New photographs of the city will show the roof of the Media 24 building, which will become as iconic to Cape Town as when the CT stadium first took its place in the aerial views of the city.

The design:


The existing central column on the front face of the building is envisaged as the new public access entrance, via an exterior lift to take people to public viewing decks, which offer 360 views of the city. The transparency of the materials will communicate openness and welcome, revealing its purpose.

These are the new democratic spaces, which invite participation by all Capetonians as stakeholders in the beauty and position of the building.


It is envisaged that the public viewing deck, which would be the first of its kind in Cape Town, offering a “bird’s eye view” of the city – allowing views usually accessible only to an elite who can afford high priced office space or luxury hotels to all. A public viewing area is long overdue in a city, cut from itself and its resources in so many ways. Telescopes such as those on Table Mountain could be available.

A bird shape has been designed to add literal lightness to the structure, which an ordinary slab would not have. The seagull motif pays lip service to the essential nature of the site and fact that the ground where the building now stands is reclaimed and was once ocean. The seagull, as a bird that is at home on both land and sea, seemed inoffensive and appropriate.

The viewing areas themselves have been designed conceptually to offer a blank canvas, a clean slate, to be completed by public participation via exhibitions, art competitions, sculpture gardens, performance art, clean energy generation, even a helter-skelter ride [ as per the iconic Anish Kapoor structure built for the London Olympics ] – all with the intention of being an affordable, memorable and constantly evolving destination for children, families, students, workers, corporates, tourists etc. This strategy offers a variety of sustainable, income and employment generation and tourism opportunities.

As with the Empire State Building in New York, the building could be lit up in appropriate colours to mark New Year’s Eve, Heritage Day and other celebration days. Fireworks or laser light displays could also be projected off the building and would be visible for a very long way.

An annual competition could be held to design a pinnacle solution for the building. Although not part of this brief we considered an illuminated winged acrobat or mythical African motif or signage solutions, but it would be great if the choice of this motif could be via a democratic process such as competition and a public vote if required at some stage.

Note: Even if this design is over reaching or not structurally feasible as it is presented here – it is non-negotiable that some public access and viewing be made available in some form or another in this building due to it heritage and position, not only as a democratic destination, but to fulfill its potential as a radiator of public generated images via twitter, instagram and other distribution channels, which will succeed in promoting both the City and the Media24 building! #media24building


The most visible of the facades has been designed to honour the existing tile work from 1962 [ as this designer remembers them from her childhood and feels strongly that the pattern at least should be retained as a homage to the builders, tilers and craftsmen of the original building ]. The reflective tiles will form a “pixelated” reflection of its surroundings, which will add a spectacular aspect of visual interest to this facade, while retaining the integrity of the original.

This face of the building will thus mirror the entire Western view of the city – from the flag traffic circle below it, down the boulevard of Walter Sisulu Avenue to the Waterfront, the Heatherwick silo redevelopment, as far as the stadium and the Atlantic seaboard horizon being visible on its surface.

The reflective façade will non-selectively allow all passers-by to participate in the building and literally see themselves in their city. It will bring the Atlantic Seaboard sunset experience right into the city. If the necessary pedestrian safe access is incorporated in the walk up to the building from the CTICC, the endless play of light on the facade could become as photographed as Lloyds in London, the Flatiron in New York and other iconic structures such as Anish Kapoor’s reflective sculptures and architectural installations around the world.

The inclusion of the Media24 logo on this side will also contribute to massive ‘instagram miles” and brand awareness potential and make the Media24 building a globally recognised name.

The beauty of the concept, is that as it is West facing, the façade will only get direct sun at the end of the day and will therefore not be in the eyes of any drivers on highways.

Cape Town’s magnificent sunsets will be literally projected from the Atlantic seaboard onto the building, offering a “time lapse” view of light and weather that reflects each working day and brings life and a focal point to the Foreshore, by allowing the the city itself to create its own image.


The least visible of the building’s planes, require no additional decoration, other than being integral to the above, although it is suggested that the Southern forecourt of the building, which is in deep shade for most of the day, should be landscaped as an additional public space that will join and flow to the Artscape complex. This may include children’s play areas, dog walks, sculptural elements etc.


African Innovation Global conversation
African idea speaking to the world

Using the African ideals of freedom, Ubuntu and 20 years of democracy allows us the opportunity the create South Africa’s first global architectural icon.

Bridging the Divide
Design that reconnect our city and reconciles our communities

The creation of open spaces, reflections and dialogues helps to bridge divides - inviting participation by all, enjoyment by all.

Today for tomorrow
Sustainable solutions for people and planet

Job creation, tourism, involvement on many levels illustrate sustainability, as does a clean slate, blank canvas to add sustainable energy, solar and greening aspects to the structure as budgets and technology allow.

Beautiful spaces, beautiful things
Inspiring architecture, interiors, food, etc

From Naspers to Media24 from 1961 – 2014 - the ugly duckling is transformed into a swan – not just as a building, but as an icon offering a blank canvas to portray the unmatched vibrancy and positivity of the African creativity, resilience and spirit. , that creates a clean slate, blank canvas