Hailed as a design equivalent to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia, the Museum of Civilizations on the island of la Réunion east of Madagascar is now said to be moving forward. Designed by Paris-based X-Tu Architects, the Musee de Civilizations et de l’Unite Réunionnaise (MCUR) will highlight the different cultures behind the settlement of the Indian Ocean Island. Located on a bluff near the coast, the museum will utilize natural breezes to eliminate the need for air conditioning and photovoltaics on the roof will supply its power.
The 9,000 sq meter cultural center will highlight the development of the various cultures on the island and provide special educational opportunities for people in the area. The museum will be located on a bluff outside of St. Paul within the arid African savanna and will bridge the space in between a busy highway and a nearby lava field. Arranged as a spiral circling up to the top of the site, the museum takes advantage of the views as well as the breezes. Multiple openings on the exterior of the building encourage natural ventilation through all the galleries, meeting and educational spaces.
Vertical wooden slats cover the exterior of the facade and the openings eliminate the need for air conditioning even in the hot arid climate and also allow for natural daylighting. At the center of the spiral is a large garden and patio named the ‘Grand Kour’, which is planted with banian trees and other lush tropical vegetation. Combined with the cooling sea breezes and a misting system, the inner courtyard will aid in keeping the center cool. The roof will be covered in a solar photovoltaic system to generate renewable energy to a achieve a low and maybe even zero energy museum.
Images ©Platform/X-Tu Architects