IM Pei, Louvre Pyramid


IM Pei is a Chinese/American Architect who is an advocate of contextual development and variation in style.  He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with modern designs based on simple geometric shapes.  Pei went on secretive trips to the Louvre Museum to get a better understanding of the space he was being asked to manipulate.  He thought that a complete overhaul was not only possible, but that it was necessary for the survival of the museum.  The Louvre Pyramid was part of the “Grand Louvre” project that involved expanding and modernizing the Louvre Museum.  The Museum had entrances that were too small, and the layout was thought to be too confusing.  IM Pei’s idea involved taking advantage of the central courtyard and making a subterranean entrance to the museum.  Pei was looking for a form that would attract visitors, and at the same time have a unique design to it.  He designed the pyramid with glass cladding so that it would not hinder views, and would also allow light to enter the open space below the pyramid.  There was opposition to this design by the public, but now it is one of the cities most beloved landmarks.  The most obvious design element is the main pyramid, but there are 3 smaller pyramids and an inverted pyramid that were placed as part of the museum renovation.  The Pyramid is enclosed by 3 smaller pyramids, and reflection pools surround the shape, which reflect the glass paneling of the pyramid and surrounding buildings in the plaza, which make for an exciting and colorful composition at night.


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