A stunning example of eco architecture, the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre was built as a tribute to honour the assassinated Kanak leader, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, and to celebrate the culture of the Kanak people. Sitting on a narrow peninsula of approximately eight hectares, the Centre's series of tall, curved pavilions rise majestically above the lush woodlands.
Modelled on a Kanak village
The Centre was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, who also designed Paris’ Pompidou Centre, and is modelled on a traditional Kanak village. Using traditional and modern materials, Piano utilised intelligent eco design strategies to create a cool environment in the Centre's pavilions and integrate them with nature.
The Centre's pavilions
The Centre's ten pavilions of various sizes are situated asymmetrically along a main path. Each serves a function or evokes a specific theme. Some include exhibitions and some contain studios for traditional activities such as music, dance, painting and sculpture. Displays in the pavilions include photographs, sculptures and paintings relating to the Kanak culture as well as other cultures from around the Pacific.
Also housed at the Centre are administrative departments and research areas as well as an auditorium, amphitheatre, conference room and multimedia library.
The Centre features various exterior spaces, which explore the relationship of the Kanak culture to nature. These include traditional Kanak ceremonial grounds with traditional huts and an outdoor auditorium and residences for visiting artists, lecturers, scholars and students.
The Tjibaou Cultural Centre takes in around 100,000 visitors a year and employs 65 people. There is a shop and cafe on the premises and all the staff speak English quite well. Blue-line city buses and the Noumea Explorer bus run regularly to the centre.