The Renzo Piano Workshop won an international competition to design the Tjibaou Cultural Center in
Noumea, a Pacific island territory in New Caledonia.
Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Nouméa, New Caledonia. Renzo Piano, Pritzker Prize-winning architect. 1998
Photo © Gollings, courtesy the Pritzker Prize Committee
The French government wanted to build a center in this Pacific Island colony to honor the culture of the Kanak peoples. Renzo Piano's design called for ten cone-shaped wooden huts grouped among the pine trees.
Critics praise the center for drawing on ancient building customs without creating overly romanticized imitations of native architecture. The tall wooden structures that Renzo Piano designed are both traditional and contemporary. Adjustable skylights on the roofs allow for natural climate control and the soothing sounds of Pacific breezes.
The center is named after Jean-Marie Tjibaou, an important political leader in New Caledonia who was assassinated in 1989.