The bulk of the work in the City Hall’s make-over is in the final stages, with the finishing touches currently being made to the auditorium.
The current phase includes extensive work in the auditorium and surrounding function rooms.
City Hall has served as the venue for both nationally and internationally important events through its years of service to the residents of Cape Town.
The Council Chamber, at its heart, was where matters of local importance were debated and decisions taken that were to shape Cape Town into the city as we know it today.
The seating in the auditorium has been replaced, the floors have been stabilised and restored, a mechanical ventilation system, public address system and evacuation system have been installed, and all the mouldings, stage and backstage area have been restored.
The revamp of the facility started a few months ago and repainting of the main entrance hall, refurbishment of the slate roof, and repairs to the organ were completed in the previous financial year.
Plans are afoot to position the surrounding precinct and the City Hall as an ideal musical events venue, in addition to being the home of the Malay Choirs and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.
The City of Cape Town is also upgrading the Grand Parade to increase the precinct’s attraction as an events venue.
“City Hall is one of our oldest and most central public spaces, with a rich history that resonates with Capetonians as well as visitors to our city.
“These extensive renovations will provide the facility with a new lease on life.”
“Additionally, the proposals to honour Madiba’s legacy with permanent installations here will add to the City Hall’s appeal as an attraction for locals and visitors,” said the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management, Stuart Diamond.
Planned work for next year includes the upgrading of the ground floor offices and bathrooms, and the fencing of the rear entrance to City Hall.
“The refurbishment will enhance the aesthetics of the building and, given its proximity to the Grand Parade, the Old Drill Hall and Castle of Good Hope, will establish this precinct as the historical and cultural heart of Cape Town,” said Mr Diamond.
The City is planning to host a multi-cultural event in September to launch the refurbished auditorium.
Since City Hall was built in 1905 it has been a focal point in the life of the city and hosted a number of major events.
For many years the Grand Hall was the only civic venue of significant capacity, and was the performance venue of the Malay Choir; orchestral concerts; musical competitions such as variety shows; boxing competitions; and civic banquets and functions.
While the City Hall provided space for the arts and music, it was also for nearly 70 years the headquarters of the administration of Cape Town with all decisions relating to the city being made there.
It was designed in two portions, the administrative wing and the Grand Hall wing.