Physical and symbolic factors merge in unique Memory Center in French Guiana
Guyane’s Memory Center is a complex project by D3 Architectes which provides a central base for the research and documentation of the history of the local area. The design firm refers to the concept as ‘a store for precious information’ which ‘holds a deep and resonant identity’.
Comprised of three layers – a double concrete skin, a wooden skin and a ‘protecting’ slatted skin – the amenities are arranged in a circular ring around a central storage core. In the centre of the complex is a compact Silo where the archives are stored, protected from an excess of temperature and humidity by a double concrete skin. Circling this store are the main facilities, including offices, workshops, a reception, and reading and education rooms, ensuring all space is used in the most economical way. To move from the central core to the amenities in the outer ring, pedestrian flow is directed via a small footbridge on the first floor.
A tall thin void stretches between the wooden and concrete skins, providing an additional space for socialising or informal meetings. It also adds a new level of scenery – a key focus in the concept behind Guyane’s Memory Center where physical and symbolic elements are intended to merge seamlessly. The multiple layers (or ‘skins’) can be viewed as the unfolding layers of the local area’s heritage.
The outer wooden skin is formed of balata wood slats, arranged horizontally to protect the interior from the sun’s harsh rays. D3 Architectes explains: “The slats give a slight movement to the building as an articulate shell to express a temporal energy, relating to the lively influence of the data one can find inside.”