Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pyramide du Louvre: a melding of the old and new

I.M. Pei, architect
Pyramide du Louvre, Paris, France.
Entrance to the Musée du Louvre, The Louvre palace (Richelieu wing)
Photograph by versluis © 2010

I.M. Pei’s glass and steel “geometric” pyramid, which was commissioned in 1984 and completed in 1989, seems to emerge from underground to push a contrast between the old and the new. As a result the pyramidal structure represents an undeniable quality of modernity in contemporary culture and the compelling impact of design. [1]

In the reference book, A Global History of Architecture the authors give some insight and a brief context to the Pyramide du Louvre :

Postmodern Museum

Throughout the 19th century and into a good part of the 20th, the museum carried with it the imprint [of neoclassicism] of the Enlightenment. The ordering of space, the systematization of knowledge, and the owning of precious objects went hand in hand with the conception of history, the advances of archaeology, and the understandings of art.…

But by the 1990s, with the boom in the global economy and a heightened competition for tourist dollars, the museums soon became more than just signs of a city’s cultural strength; they had become instrumental to the economies of entire regions. A blockbuster exhibition could bring in millions of dollars in secondary revenue and taxes. If there is one buildings type that piqued the interest of architects, planners, politicians, and the public alike, it was the museum. What the civic center or philharmonic hall had been in the 1960s, the pedestrian zone in the 1980s, the museum had become in the 1990s. The transition began with the Neue Staatsgalerie by James Stirling (1977-83 and was completed by the time of the opening of the Pyramide du Louvre by I.M. Pei in 1989.… [2]
  1. Ching, Francis D.K., Mark Jarzombek, and Vikramaditya Prakash. A Global History of Architecture. 1st edition. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007. 749. Print.
  2. Ibid.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the editor has approved them.