On the banks of the river Seine, just east of the Île de la Cité and downtown Paris, stand the four glittering towers of the National Library of France. Bent around the outskirts of a public esplanade, these towers are Dominique Perrault’s modern take on the age-old Parisian tradition of monumental public architecture. The project is both volume and void, enclosure and exposure, a juxtaposition of contrasting ideas that is as reverent of its place in a thousand-year-old legacy as it is deliberately self-critical.
As part of an international competition, 1982-83, to revitalize the abandoned and undeveloped land from the French national wholesale meat market and slaughterhouse in Paris, France, Bernard Tschumi was chosen from over 470 entries including that of OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, and Jean Nouvel.
In 1981, the newly elected French president, Francois Mitterrand, launched a campaign to renovate cultural institutions throughout France. One of the most advantageous of those projects was the renovation and reorganization of the Louvre.