Saturday, June 7, 2008

I. M. Pei's Glass Pyramid at the Louvre

Click photos to enlarge
Top: Benh Lieu Song
Bottom: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

This great translucent pyramid, 71 feet tall, was erected in 1988 in the heart of the Palais du Louvre’s courtyard to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the 1789 French Revolution. This structure, which sits atop the new lobby, museum shop and restaurant areas of the museum, is composed of 673 diamond-shaped and triangular glass panes, mounted on a metallic framework weighing more than 95 tons -- a true technological marvel. As the photo attests, there are three smaller glass pyramids and extensive pools and fountains, as well.
The glass pyramid, however, is only the most visible element of extensive renovations made to the museum in a large-scale restructuring project led by American architect I. M. Pei. This contemporary pyramid, set off by a cluster of historic buildings that served as the residence of the kings of France, has become the contemporary symbol of the Louvre Museum. The Louvre complex, with twelves miles of corridors and a collection of 30,000 paintings alone, is visited by more than 6 million people per year.

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