Western Cape Tourist AttractionsOpen House
Where? Corner of Dorp and Long Street, Cape Town Central, City Bowl
Open House is a public art piece.
It is a 10.5 metre high bright red 'house' without a back. Its narrow three-storey facáde, complete with stairs and wrought iron balconies, is the creation of artist Jacques Coetzer, who won a World Design Capital competition for his work.
It is a symbolic landmark where you are encouraged to sing, cry, or just wave from the balcony.
Cape Town's answer to Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, London, Jacques Coetzer, who lives in Riebeek Kasteel, explained that his inspiration came from a combination of RDP homes, Long Street's building facádes and corrugated metal structures.
“Democracy is an Open House with a firm foundation and a balcony to sing from” was the line he used as the basis for his design.
South Africa's democracy turned 21 on 27th April 2015. The Western Cape government recognised democracy's eligibility to run its own house: “a free spirited place where our constitution can live and an open platform for political expression and freedom of speech.
“Like democracy, Open House does not offer perfect shelter, but it is a beacon for all opposed to tyranny and anarchy.”
Open House stands on the corner of Dorp and Long Streets in the City Bowl, a symbol of democracy and diversity, its balconies envisaged as a space to host open-mic poetry, talks and performances. It is there to encourage interaction between people across society, and freedom of speech.
When not in use for performance, locals can use it for anything – a space for lunch, a place for photographs, somewhere to watch the world go by.