Musée du Fleuve is in Niamey, the capitol city of Niger and located on the Niger beautiful Niger river. Niamey was founded in the 18th century and originated as a cluster of villages. The Musee’ location provides an opportunity to not only tell the story of Niger’s natural and cultural heritage but importantly of ecology, the river and the importance of water to life, commerce, recreation and the future.
The architecture of the Musée is thought of as a village, much like the founding of the city. Masonry galleries sheathed in decorative tile create galleries that house the unique collection that attests to the importance of Niger’s natural and cultural sites through deep time. The pathway to and through the Musee is didactic and creates convenient wayfinding, orientation, opportunities to explore the exhibits, view the river’s eco system and city of Niamey and relax in a river front café. The galleries recall historic earthen structures in a new and dynamic interpretation. The pathway is mostly covered by a hybrid fabric of glass and photovoltaic solar cells providing not only shade but energy and is planted with native trees to create gathering spaces and scale. There are opportunities to gather is small or large groups, walk along the pathways as it winds its way through the river, pre-Cambrian rock, marsh, trees and wildlife creating an intimate connection with the environment.
The design employs earthen architecture, which is clad with artisan created decorative tiles developed by Nigerian craftspeople based on traditional patterns and advantageous orientation to minimize the destructive effects of the sun. The project will be a net positive energy building using double trombe walls, trees, solar chimneys, natural ventilation and river breeze, and active photo-voltaic array. River water cooling will also be considered as an adjunct conservation strategy.