The Origins Centre is built on the crest of the Witwatersrand Ridge, which runs from east to west through Johannesburg. The ridge is known for its dense quartzite rock, inside of which runs a seam of gold, deep below the surface. These gold deposits were central to the formation and growth of the city.
The Witwatersrand Ridge is also significant in the greater landscape as a high point that divides two watersheds. When rain falls to the south of the ridge, it drains into streams that feed the Vaal and Orange Rivers, which ultimately flow into the Atlantic Ocean. When rain falls to the north, the water joins Crocodile and Limpopo rivers, eventually leading to the Indian Ocean.
The crack in the concrete of the Origins Centre courtyard marks this bisection. The gold leaf applied to the crack’s interior highlights the geological and geographical significance of this location, bringing attention to a largely invisible but elemental process beneath our feet..