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A work by Renzo Piano in Noumea, New Caledonia

In New Caledonia, just 10 minutes by car from the center of Nouméa, on the Tina Peninsula, there is the futuristic Tjibaou Cultural Center, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, it is an architectural project that combines Kanak traditions with contemporary style.


The cultural center occupies an area of about 8 hectares, but the facilities cover an area of 6,700 m². They are made up of 10 stylized Kanak “big houses” which form three distinct villages. The structures are built using Iroko wood from Africa. The tallest building reaches a height of 28 meters. The 10 stylized Kanak “big houses” are joined together by a covered path that recalls the ceremonial streets of traditional Kanak villages. The shape of the structures also takes up that of the famous columnar pines (Araucaria columnaris), the main tree of New Caledonia.


The first village, made up of 4 sail-shaped structures, houses a room with a series of Kanak art objects from the Museum de l’Homme in Paris. Here you will also find a collection of contemporary Kanak and South Pacific art, audio-visual presentations of Kanak culture and an auditorium. In the second village, made up of 3 sail-shaped structures, there is the multimedia library and an exhibition of contemporary art. Finally in the third village, made up of 3 sail-shaped structures, there is a room dedicated to the memory of Jean-Marie Tjibaou, historical leader of the Kanak people murdered in 1989, a conference area and a room dedicated to the illustration of the architectural project of the cultural center.

Outside the complex a pedestrian path crosses the garden, among numerous species of local plants and in the footsteps of the first man (Téâ Kanaké) of the Kanak culture. Kanak beliefs about the birth of the world are illustrated, starting from the birth of living creatures, the land that provides, the land of ancestors, the land of spirits and rebirth. In a garden area there are also three traditional Kanak “big houses”, they represent the architecture of three areas of New Caledonia: the Loyalty Islands, the north of Grande Terre and the south of Grande Terre.

Hours: The Cultural Center is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 to 17.00. Closed on Mondays. Entrance ticket: 500 CFP. Admission is free for children under 18 and for people over 65.


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