When I.M. Pei's Grand Louvre in Paris was first completed in 1989, it was criticized as a radical-at-the-time, modernist affront at its 800-year-old Grand Palais location. But 27 years later, the 71-foot-tall glass pyramid has become as treasured as the artwork it houses. Today, the AIA awarded its 2017 Twenty-Five Year Award to the Grand Louvre - Phase I project.
Established in 1969, the Twenty-Five Year Award distinguishes a building that has gracefully stood the test of time over the last 25-35 years. The winning project best “demonstrate[s] excellence in function, in the distinguished execution of its original program, and in the creative aspects of its statement by today’s standards.”
The Grand Louvre will be honored during the 2017 AIA National Convention in Orlando. In recent years, the award was given to The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Northern California and SOM's Broadgate Exchange House in London.
Read on for more.
The idea for the Louvre was born from President François Mitterrand's goal to modernize Paris' Palais during the 1980s. Once I.M. Pei and his practice Pei Cobb Freed & Partners were appointed as the architect, he had to figure out how to reorganize and expand the museum while respecting the historic integrity of the Palais.
The project came to fruition thanks to Pei's skillful balancing of cultural sensitivity, preservation, political acumen, and of course, innovation. The Grand Louvre was built in two phases over the course of a decade. In Phase I, Pei built the pyramid and reorganized the museum around the central Cour Napoléon courtyard, transforming it from a parking lot into the iconic public space it is today.
One award juror noted the project not only as one of Paris' iconic symbols, but as “an example of the prowess and legacy of I.M. Pei”.
The 2017 Twenty-five Year Award jury featured: Mark Reddington, (Chair), LMN Architects; Gregory P. Baker, HNTB Architecture; David Cordaro, AIAS Representative; Leslie K. Elkins, Leslie K. Elkins Architect; Timothy J. Johnson, NBBJ; William Q. Sabatini, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini; Adrian D. Smith, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture; Beatrice Spolidoro, Assoc. AIA, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative; and Marilyn Terranova, PhD, Interim Superintendent, Pocantico Hills CSD.
All photos courtesy of the AIA.
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