Internment Memorial of Rivesaltes

Rivesaltes - France

Of the 600 hectares that Camp Joffre occupies in Rivesaltes, only a small 42 hectar section is to be preserved and dedicated to the memory of the Harkis, who were the Muslim Algerians that served the French Army during the Algerian War (1954-1962). An Internment Memorial will be built, based on the idea of a hiding place.


The first paradox is that all of Camp Joffre is made of the same barracks, identical and arranged on the same frame. Those barracks found on the 42 hectar memorial will be listed as Historical Monuments. The others will be destroyed.


Our project addresses the paradox that these "scraps of memory" can be reused to become the very substance of the memorial. It is a legitimate expression that also offers a great opportunity to study "embodied energy" and create a memorial that is emblematic in its sustainability. 

The rest of the memorial is to be built of heavy gauge steel; its oxidation is calculated to corrode at the same deterioration rate as the rest of the camp.

To discuss the importance of the camp, yet also its reduction, the mystification of the island was necessary.


At the top of the memorial, a kind of strange box is raised. Inside this box, precise views of the camp are framed. The entire volume is a vast camera obscura whose images appear slowly, once visitors that enter become accustomed to the darkness of the room.

At the top of the lookout, visitors can see the protected natural zone that extends across almost the entire island. The fauna and flora will take back over a site that is marked by devastation, and the memory of victims will flourish.

PROGRAM Competition for the architecture, scenography, landscaping and engineering of the Camp Rivesaltes Memorial


CLIENT Conseil générale des Pyrénées Orientales TEAM Maison Edouard François


AREA 3 900 m² Net Floor Area BUDGET 10 M € Schedule Competition 2005

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Camp Joffre

66600 Rivesaltes