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  3. Visual Arts Center
  4. France
  5. Jean Nouvel
  6. 1987
  7. AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio
AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio +11

  • Architects

    Jean Nouvel, Architecture-Studio, Pierre Soria and Gilbert Lezenes
  • Location

    Arab World Institute, 1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris, France
  • References

    www.jeannouvel.com, www.galinsky.com, www.imarabe.org
  • Project Year

    1987

From the architect. In the early eighties Jean Nouvel in conjunction with Architecture-Studio won the competition to design what would become the Institut du Monde Arabe. It was conceived during the Grands Projets, a major development initiative headed by the French government. 

The IMA was produced through collaboration with the countries of the Arab League and the French government.  Upon its completion in 1987, it quickly became a popular destination for the local populace as well as tourists. 

One of the main reasons behind the construction of this institute was to create a destination devoted to the relationship of the Arab culture with France. Located at the threshold of the historical peripheries of Paris along the River Seine, it responds to its immediate context both in plan and elevation. In plan it follows the curvature of the road, whose form is dictated by the river. Its 2 main volumes encompass an inner courtyard with the north mass rising 9 stories and the southern portion rising to 11 stories.

A paved plaza provides an element of separation from the adjacent Universite de Jussieu and the main volume of the building. Further enhancing the outdoors spaces is the paving that mimics the patterning of the façade. Recessed ground lights complement the light play that emanates from the interior of the structure at night. The interior spaces house numerous typologies including a restaurant, museum, library, offices, and auditorium. A multi storey glass atrium is wrapped with a steel staircase featuring exposed elevator lifts on the interior. The library and northern portion of the 4th floor feature increased floor to ceiling heights as well as incorporating numerous terraces and a mezzanine.

Typical of Jean Nouvel’s work is his attention to façade detailing, and this design is no exception. A main feature and innovative element of the IMA is the advanced responsive metallic brise soleil on the south façade. Nouvel’s proposal for this system was well received for its originality and its reinforcement of an archetypal element of Arabic architecture – the mashrabiyya. He drew inspiration from the traditional lattice work that has been used for centuries in the Middle East to protect the occupants from the sun and provide privacy. 

The system incorporates several hundred light sensitive diaphragms that regulate the amount of light that is allowed to enter the building. During the various phases of the lens, a shifting geometric pattern is formed and showcased as both light and void. Squares, circles, and octagonal shapes are produced in a fluid motion as light is modulated in parallel. Interior spaces are dramatically modified, along with the exterior appearance. 

While these ocular devices create an incredible aesthetic, they are functional from an environmental controls standpoint as well. Solar gain is easily mitigated by closing or reducing the aperture sizes.

Nouvel was able to synthesize traditional Arabic architectural elements into a modern design that is evocative of the architecture of the Middle East. His use of light as a building block and modifier of space creates a deeper sense of place and enhances the overall experience. It continues to serve as a great beacon and location for the interaction of Arab culture. 

As affirmation to the quality of the design, it won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989, and the Equirre d’Argent for French architecture in 1987.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Tim Winstanley. "AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Enrique Jan + Jean Nouvel + Architecture-Studio" 02 Oct 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/162101/ad-classics-institut-du-monde-arabe-jean-nouvel/>
Read comments

17 Comments

archipicture · November 25, 2016

great design by jean nouvel!
some more images:
www.archipicture.ch

steven fleming · August 03, 2014

I took a group of students to visit this building in 2012. We were told the iris panels had stopped working a few months beforehand and were going to cost too much to fix. I was reminded of what Charles Jencks had once written, that it is not that Hi-Tech buildings have any more problems but that “people feel let down when, inevitably, some mechanisms fail”. Does anyone know if the panels are working again, or if they are on-track to be fixed?

Jaber Alqahtani · November 17, 2013

Institut du Monde Arabe is considered one of the modern buildings in terms of architectural style, social and culture, and materials used. This building emulates the Islamic architecture and it reflects the architecture in Middle East styles, which used from the Old time to this time. Institut du Monde Arabe was designed in France in order to convey the Arabic culture of the Middle East to Europe and especially the France, in terms of thought and culture, religion and history. Jean Nouvel used the Islamic screens in his design to decorate the facade, but by using the modernism materials of architecture is different about what it was in the past, which they used the wood to make the screens.

¬» ??????? ?™ · December 18, 2011

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veronica montesel · October 31, 2011

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mike chung · October 16, 2011

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Bálint Marosi · October 09, 2011

Saw this building again this summer and after all the applauds I have to tell one big disappointment: though the text above is talking about double heights in the library, but instead I had experienced LOWERED heights on ALL the other floors...(2,20? 2,30?) It was just shocking that we could touch the ceiling everywhere (!), even in the entrance "hall" (main entrance is under the stairs!...), and it's only the library and some other major parts that have "double ceiling" - hich means here only normal heights of maybe 4,5-5 meters.

Brooks Ahlfenger · October 05, 2011

You know you&#39re an Arch Nerd when: you get excited about bldgs you&#39ve written papers on http://t.co/UhKjG1NW via @archdaily

Nayira Abo ElMakarem · October 04, 2011

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel http://t.co/t6bUo1yg #architecture

Irma Hardjakusumah · October 04, 2011

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel | ArchDaily http://t.co/Txclg09T via @archdaily

Ohara · October 04, 2011

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel | ArchDaily http://t.co/JYg5M7Tu via @archdaily

TS · October 03, 2011

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel: In the early eighties Jean Nouvel in conjunction with Archit... http://t.co/zUra5B0Q

CMOworld · October 03, 2011

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe ( http://t.co/cmUdAJ9B )

a3a2 arquitectura · October 03, 2011

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Noha Alahmadi · October 03, 2011

One of my fav bldgs,which I researched while in Paris.RT AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe/Jean Nouvel http://t.co/c5nfikGW #architecture

Cristina Mioranza · October 03, 2011

Quanto mais eu vou, mais eu gosto disso!RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel http://t.co/4OKRWALV #architecture

samudera phalo · October 03, 2011

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel http://t.co/CkS3rkKi via @archdaily

···

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