About the Foundation
The Norval Foundation is a centre for art and cultural expression. We are dedicated to the research and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and beyond. Located in the Steenberg area of Cape Town, adjacent to Table Mountain National Park, the Norval Foundation combines the experience of art with an appreciation for nature.
Our innovative Sculpture Garden, outdoor amphitheatre, purpose-built exhibition spaces and research library are situated in a unique setting that offers visitors a multisensory experience. This is complemented by the Skotnes Restaurant and Bar, a bespoke shop and a children’s playground.
We aim to create high-quality exhibitions and public programming to broaden our understanding of the visual arts. The Norval Foundation is honoured to be the custodian of the Gerard Sekoto Foundation, the Edoardo Villa Estate Collection and the Alexis Preller Archive. We believe that art has the power to enrich our lives and that artists contribute to our communities in a profound way.
The Norval family are the founders and initial funders of the Norval Foundation. Their aim is to make art widely accessible to local and international visitors by creating a self-sustaining centre for art. The proceeds from capital donations will be used to secure the foundation for future generations.
The Homestead Collection
Assembled by the Norval family over the past two decades, the Homestead Art Collection is one of the leading 20th-century South African art collections. It is committed to an expanded narrative of South African art that includes both African voices and archival materials of established South African modernists.
The Homestead Art Collection has acquired the Alexis Preller Archive, the Edoardo Villa Estate Collection and the Bruce Campbell Smith Revisions Collection, among others, and also includes in-depth holdings of artists such as Dumile Feni, Peter Clarke, Sydney Kumalo, Maggie Laubser, Ezrom Legae, Trevor Makhoba, John Muafangejo, George Pemba, Gerard Sekoto, Cecil Skotnes, Anton van Wouw, Deborah Bell, Irma Stern, Alexis Preller and Edoardo Villa. It also has a significant collection of books on South African art.
The Norval Foundation was envisioned by DHK Architects as a modern pavilion for art. Set against a mountain and vineyard landscape, it is a pure expression of form.
The building is constrained by its linear site, between a busy road and an existing wetland. The linear shape of the building is a direct response to this, with the galleries and public spaces facing the natural landscape, capturing framed views of the wetland, vineyards and mountains beyond.
The building therefore shields the wetland, creating a private space for the sculpture park, forming a threshold between public and private zones. A triple-volume atrium establishes a deliberate visual connection between these zones, one urban, the other natural, and provides a physical transition between contrasting environments.
The Norval Foundation is experienced in a linear sequence: visitors are greeted by a triple-volume restaurant with a gift shop beyond, flanked by a generous reception area which calmly directs guests to the central atrium that introduces the main galleries.
The gallery spaces comprise a large exhibition venue and a series of six small galleries, culminating in a dramatic triple-volume sculpture gallery. The upper level accommodates offices, library, bar and artist’s residence. Externally there is a large sculpture garden, with an amphitheatre, picnic area and timber deck serving the restaurant.
The Norval Foundation is a celebration of art, architecture and landscape.
The Foundation and nature
Uniquely situated on the edges of a natural wetland, the Norval Foundation has become the custodian and protector of its indigenous plants and animals.
Specifically, the Foundation has recognised its duty to the western leopard toad, an indigenous species that has come under threat from rapid urbanisation. The toads travel great distances to find safe areas to breed, and in so doing take on the perilous task of crossing major roadways.
The survival of the endangered western leopard toad has been safeguarded through the construction of concrete culverts underneath the Steenberg road to allow the toads safe access to the Norval Foundation wetland for mating.
The building has been specifically designed so as to minimise its environmental impact. A large solar plant on its roof provides the Foundation’s power and feeds excess energy into the local power grid. There is also a grey-water purification system that allows a high degree of independence from municipal water supplies.
Board and Governance
Louis Norval – Chair
Karel Nel (Ex Officio)
Elana Brundyn (Ex Officio)