The inverted pyramid marks the intersection of two main underground walkways beneath the Place du Carrousel and orients visitors towards the museum entrance under the Cour Napoléon. Tensioned against a 30-tonne (33-short-ton), 13.3-metre (44 ft) square steel caisson frame, the inverted pyramidal shape in laminated glass points downward towards the floor. The glass of the pyramid itself is 10 millimetres (0.39 in) thick, while the glass above the pyramid at courtyard (ground) level, which must be able to support the weight of pedestrians, is 30 millimetres (1.2 in) thick. The tip of the pyramid is suspended 1.4 metres (4.6 ft) above floor level. Individual glass panes in the pyramid are connected by stainless-steel crosses 381 millimetres (15.0 in) in length. After dark, the structure is illuminated by a frieze of spotlights.
“If there’s one thing I know I didn’t do wrong, it’s the Louvre”I.M. Pei
Directly below the tip of the downwards-pointing glass pyramid, a small stone pyramid (about 1 m, 3.3 ft) is stationed on the floor, as if mirroring the larger structure above: The tips of the two pyramids almost touch.
The Pyramide Inversée was designed by architect I.M. Pei, and installed as part of the Phase II government renovation of the Louvre Museum. It was completed in 1993.In 1995, it was a finalist in the Benedictus Awards, described by the jury as “a remarkable anti-structure … a symbolic use of technology … a piece of sculpture. It was meant as an object but it is an object to transmit light.”
Why Louvre Pyramid was built
In this section we take you through the various incidents which led to the building of one of the most popular Parisian landmarks.
Space Crunch at Louvre Museum
In the early 1980s, Louvre Museum was a world-class art museum bursting at its seams.
It had the finest collections of art in the world, and yet they were running out of space to display.
Because of lack of space, the galleries were disjointed, and visitor experience was poor.
So much so, there were only two public bathrooms to cater to the 2.5 million visitors who would come in to relish the art annually.
To add to the space crunch, the French Minister of Finance had claimed the Richelieu Wing of the building for their offices.