• Jeff Peltier's architectural vision:     in his own words . . .


    hen I was first given the opportunity to design [Museum Africa], I was of course slightly stunned by the scale of such a project. The concept that is to be embraced here is very, very large indeed and not only deals with the complex relationships and stories of African Americans in this country but also the people and history of Africa itself. I was fortunate enough to be fairly well versed in African art, from ancient history to now, and know that it has often been sheathed with complex symbolism and double meanings so my first design goal is to make each part of the building represent something important.

    "I believe that there has also been a misleading tendency to think of Africa as having a dual nature itself, one that is more civilized, symbolized by the Egyptian empires, and one that is more harsh and symbolized by the jungles and deserts. The truth of course is much more complex, but it seemed to me that I could at least attempt to portray some kind of duality in the building itself and I chose to split the building in two with the large stone wall. That worked out well as a memorial wall as well so I continued by placing the light glass arboretum on the one side, with the obvious symbolism of the jungle, and the museum display areas representing civilization and cultural on the other side of the wall.