Jean Nouvel – Arab World Institute


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Jean Nouvel is a French architect who won a design competition for a building known as the Arab World Institute, located in Paris, France. Construction of this building started in 1981 and ended in 1987. The purpose for this building was to allow France and other Arab nations to exchange ideas, particularly having a better understanding of each other’s cultures, while also collaborating in the scientific and technological field. When looking at Nouvel’s work as an architect, his design of this building was quite early in his career. Having accomplished many things in the following years, Nouvel won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2008.

One thing that stands out in this building are the windows, which seemed to be influenced by Islamic architecture styles, one of them being the incorporation of geometric patterns that allow light to shine through a certain way. What is unique about these windows, specifically those that are located in the south facade of the building is that they are covered with photoelectric cells, allowing them to adjust in size depending on the time of day, similar to how our eyes or camera lens work. With the windows constantly changing shape and size, the interior of the building would have a different look due to the many patterns that the light and shadows create, allowing for the space within to have an enchanted feeling.


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