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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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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.