ARCHITECTURE INSPIRED BY KANAK CULTURE
The Tjibaou cultural centre, is a sparse yet bold architectural statement which blends harmoniously Kanak tradition and contemporary style. Designed by Renzo Piano, one of today’s most celebrated architects, the Tjibaou cultural centre occupies 8 hectares of unspoiled land, in perfect harmony with its natural environment. The Tjibaou cultural centre opened its doors the 4th of May 1998. The building, is made up of three «villages», each with a distinct function, with a total of ten stylised Melanesian great houses (aka Case), the tallest of which soars to a height of 28 meters. The three villages which make up the cultural centre are linked by a long curving hall, reminiscent of the central fairway typical of the traditional Kanak village. Each of the Houses is a hymn to airiness and transparency.
The architecture combines, around this central spine, alternating tall spaces, echoed by graceful Araucaria pines, and more intimate lower spaces. The journey through the complex is a subtle tale told with light and shade. The Kanak people have always had a very close relationship with their natural environment; the earth and its plants spell the rhythms of their life. From the earliest stages of the project, architect Renzo Piano decided to attempt a symbiosis between the contemporary architectural statement he intended to make and the untouched natural environment of the Tina peninsula, site of the future cultural centre. The outdoor performance spaces, the traditional ceremonial grounds and the complex of buildings located at the tip of the peninsula (accommodation, workshops) reflect this concern and blend closely with the natural contour of the land.
Located at the entrance to the first village, The Kavitara Room is a place for temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. In the
“Case Kanaké”, a temporary audiovisual presentation evoke the Kanak culture. The “Case Bwénaado” is a tribute to the
Kanak heritage. The “Case Jinu” houses monumental sculptures which symbolize the tradition reborn. The Bérétara Room
houses the permanent collection of contemporary art from New Caledonia and the Pacific. The Multimedia Library occupies
two Houses, the “Case Ngan Vhalik” is set up for audiovisual presentations. The “Case Mwà Véé“ houses the book and
magazine collections. The Komwi room is a two-storey exhibition hall. The “Case Umatë” is dedicated to the architectural
project. The “Case Mâlep” is dedicated to the memory of slain Kanak leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou.
THE KANAK PATHWAY AND THE MWAKAA AREA
Mwakaa : traditional ceremonial grounds - A place for formal speeches, ceremonial exchange of gifts known as the «custom».
It forms a bridge between the past and the present. The fine traditional Kanak great chiefly houses display the wonderful Kanak architecture. The Kanak Pathway Inspired use was made of the natural flora of the site, with the addition of a great variety of native New Caledonian species. Stately mature Araucaria pines were transplanted to the site, and a «Kanak Pathway» was created, a journey through a profusion of native species winding through most of the site, designed to give the visitor a glimpse into the symbolism of plants in Kanak culture. Through the language of plants, the Kanak Pathway follows the saga of Téâ Kanaké, the mythical founder of the Kanak people, showing the five stages of his life.
The Pathway begins at the mangrove and winds its way past each of the three villages of the complex. It is not simply a pleasant walk, but a «journey into history» and an important part of the cultural centre. To design it, we had to delve into the past, talk to the Elders about traditions, and research a multitude of plant species some of which are also a link with the
culture, ecology and geography of other Pacific nations.
Opening Hours : The Tjibaou cultural centre is open every day except Mondays and public holidays, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Entrance fees : The entry is 1000 XPF and 500 XPF for concessions (-18yrs , +65 yrs, ISIC card).
Guided tours : Tuesday to Sunday at 10 am and 2.30 pm (on booking). Cost : 2000 XPF. Concession : 1000 XPF
The Kanak Pathway Show : Immerse yourself in the myth of the creation of the First Man through the dance and music performance in the Kanak Pathway, the lovely natural setting. Every Tuesday at 2.30 pm. (Booking required.) Cost : 3000 XPF.
Concession : 2000 XPF.
Temporary Exhibitions are located in Kavitara, Komwi, Kanaké rooms and the Central alley.
Library : The multimedia library dedicated to the Kanak, New Caledonian and Pacific islands cultures occupies Ngan Vhalik
and Mwà Véé rooms.
Access : Wheelchairs are available on request at the entrance.
TCC store : Books, films, posters, gifts, souvenirs... From Tuesday to Saturday : 9 am - 1 pm / 1.45 pm - 5 pm.
Sunday : 10 am - 1 pm / 1.45 pm - 5 pm
Regulations for Visitors : Eati
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