The Great Museum of Africa is located on the Bay of Algiers at a prestigious site on an area of land overlooking the sea. Rectangular in plan, and veiled in white concrete, the building’s flanks are articulated with a pattern of relief and void which creates the central space.
Arte Charpentier proposed a contemporary approach to the Museum of Africa with a reinterpretation of the way in which space is organized in African culture. An adaptation of primitive motifs is employed in a decorative play of incrustation and relief on the facades, with windows for light and ventilation integrated within it.
The building rises like a tree in which civilizations, cultures and arts germinate, echoing the richness and diversity of its populations.
The various volumes of the building are home to four main entities: Reception and Exhibitions, Shows and Projections, Administration, Management and Logistics and, finally, Commercial Activities. These four trunks take their roots in the base and rise up to form a tree structure accommodating the spatial liaisons necessary between the various activities and services.
The design for gardens in the grounds of the museum promotes the diversity of landscapes on the African continent. The gardens recreate some of the different landscape typologies to be found in Africa, such as maritime regions, wet coastline, Mediterranean coastline, dry dunes and dry coastline, desert and oasis, irrigated agriculture, the greenhouse and rainforest, steppe and palaver tree.
The gardens also accommodate facilities for outdoor activities, oral expression, songs or music festivals and performances.
– Project owner : Algeria Ministry of Culture
– Prime architect: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Technical design: Terrell
– City: Alger
– Competition 2003
– Project program: Conception of a museum
– Project surface area: 16 000 sqm
– Perspectives: Doug & Wolf