Grand Musée de l'Afrique


Algiers, Algeria, 2013

UNStudio’s design for the Grand Musée de l’Afrique has been designed as an amalgamation of history, geography, ecology, culture and presents itself as a sensitive, context-conscious modernising impulse. The Grand Musée de l’Afrique of Alger is designed to bring Algeria and Africa a manifestation of its cultural and natural richness. Its architecture is a medium to generate a ‘trait d’union’ between African cultures, while blending into Algeria’s city fabric. A language of aggregation is deployed in the design as an organisational system resulting in a museum that highlights the diversity and multiplicity of the African continent. The varied nature of the collection led to a concept for a museum that reflects the idea of variety and diversification, where the programme aggregates in a range of flexible scenarios by alternating exhibition and performance spaces. The logic of programme distribution within the museum sets itself apart from the more classical notion of museum programme distribution. By intertwining the narrative and the routing, diversifying the visitor experience into a mixed space with a loose start and a loose end, the Grand Musée de l’Afrique presents a different museum experience.
The garden unveils several types of African ecologies, where a route of 2km crosses several landscape ecologies and the various gardens will allow for art work to be placed outside in a landscape scenario. The intensification of urban activities promotes the site as an urban destination, a social and cultural meeting point.


Client: ARPC – Agence Nationale de Gestion des Realisations des Grands Projects de la Culture
Location: Algiers, Algeria
Building surface: 23.772 m2
Building site: 15.900m2 building area, 75.000m2 total field
Programme: African Museum of Algiers.  
Status: Competition design


UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Gerard Loozekoot with Wesley Lanckriet and Filippo Lodi,  Harlen Miller, Jan Kokol, Wendy van der Knijff, Nemanja Kordić, Jan Rehders, Chenqi Jia, Patrik Noome, Jeroen den Hertog, Iain Jamieson

Associate Architect: ATSP
Structural engineers: Bollinger&Grohmann
MEP engineers: SETEC
Museographer: Studio Adeline Rispal
Lighting design: LICHT KUNST LICHT AG
Museum programme: AP'Culture
Visualisations : Bloomimages, Germany