Staging Culture in Jacmel, Haiti

Isabelle A. Jolicoeur (website)
University of Montreal
Thesis Project
Faculty: Katherine Lapierre


Cultural capital and major tourist center of the Republic of Haiti, the city of Jacmel is a museum in itself. However, the city experiences a serious lack of cultural facilities on its territory despite the many existing artistic and ethnographic collections. Hence the idea of ​​creating a museum of Haitian Culture; in others words a great opportunity to design a space open to all, where art and civic life intermingle.

In order to offer an innovative way to rethink the museum itinerary, the building is designed as an extension of an existing landscape promenade. The ground floor is porous with the main access defined by a large atrium. A stairway-alley initiates the start of the looped walk up to an urban platform. From there, visitors can establish visual connections with the landscape and the exhibited art then freely pursue their ascent to the roof, the highest point of the walk.

The outer facade of the building is made of perforated metal screens handmade by local artisans. Strategic positioning of the perforations controls the penetration of light and also the natural ventilation of the building, while orchestrating views and moments of pause in the visit. More than a simple protective wall, the façade also enables the building to fulfill its role as an urban catalyst animating the public space, at night.

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