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IDEAS / architecture

Musée du Louvre. An Endless Struggle

13 August 2014

words:  Natalie Donat-Cattin

photos:  Jian Yong Khoo

Modern, provocative, rebellious. The new entrance of the Musée du Louvre is this and much more. Criticism has built its reputation, making it the most talked about pyramid in the world. Eternal in volume and modern in material, it represents the architecture of two millennia in a single structure: from the pyramids of Giza to new, innovative technologies. From the first, it inherits the proportions and the form. From the second, the lightness and the transparency.

With its 21.60 m of height, it shines like a diamond in the centre of the main court, filling the great void and giving it a purpose. The light bounces on the solid surface giving it depth and consistency but, at same time, it floods into the basement creating a lively space, rich of reflections and soft shadows.

Externally, the glass’ immateriality clashes with the thick French Renaissance style, enriching it and depriving it. Here, a fight between different architectures and ideologies is engaged, an endless struggle with no winners or losers: simplicity collides with detail and transparency with the solid mass. A small surface of water separates it from the main bodies of the building, making the pyramid more like a sculpture rather than part of the building. The new architecture becomes the main character on stage and attempts to wrestle the limelight from the old one. All eyes are pointed towards the pyramid.

The question seems to arise spontaneously: will the pyramid succeed?

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FURTHER READING / essays, ideas, photography and more!

Water Temple. A Found Ruin

Water temple, designed by Tadao Ando, hides in the inland of Awaji Island. Despite its close proximity to the sea (only a 15 min walk) the building turns its back to the ocean to embrace the hillside. The road to reach it, is deserted and steep: a series of greenhouses and fields are the only panorama’s highlights.

In Praise Of Shadows.

In Praise Of Shadows – “…what strikes the eye is the massive roof of tile or thatch and the heavy darkness that hangs beneath the eaves. Even at midday cavernous darkness spreads over all beneath the roof’s edge, making entryway, doors, walls, and pillars all but invisible.”

Saint Peter’s Basilica. Scale, Power, Wealth

Progressing through the maze of columns, towards the centre of Bernini’s eclipse, we find ourselves in front of an imposing white wall, the Dover’s cliff of Rome: Saint Peter’s Basilica. Decorated to the last detail, it can only be compared to the English steep rock face for its whiteness and grandeur. In all other aspects, we can say that the craft of man has equaled if not surpassed the force of nature.

The Art Of Mirrors.

The power of a mirror lies in its simplicity. A single surface allowing for endless possibilities. Multiplication’s machine, illusions’ creator, reality’s extension are just some of its magical properties.

“Magic mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest one of all?”

Tokyo. Time To Return

Tokyo – Close your eyes. If you do so you will hear the noise at the Shibuya Crossing and the smell of the sakura flowers in bloom in Shinjuku on an April’s day, while walking around Gyoen National Garden. Close your eyes tighter. Do you feel the spatial tension? From the small labyrinth-streets of Nakano to the huge Roppongi’s skyscrapers, Tokyo paints the 21st century Japanese society on one single canvas.

architasters / project by Natalie Donat-Cattin and Jian Yong Khoo. It is a platform for speculation and discussion, functioning as a complementary repository for their design work.