Designed by Renzo Piano and opened in 1998, the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center (Centre Culturel Tjibaou) was built to mimic the villages of the local Kanak people.
It is named in honor of Jean-Marie Tjibaou, who died in 1989 while leading a fight for freedom from the French government, and dedicated to exploring the culture of New Caledonia and the South Pacific.
Although a wonder of modern architecture and green building innovations, it is also deeply connected with the area, from its exterior of local iroko wood to its utilization of traditional building techniques. The building was designed to “sing” as it vibrates with the strong ocean winds, which are also allowed through the building as natural ventilation, so that the center is not just in harmony with nature, but a part of it. The double layered exterior forces warm air up and out of the building. It was also created to be stable in violent winds and earthquakes.
The huts of the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center contain a center for art, a museum, theatres, and a library.