Louvre Pyramids

Inverted pyramid
Inverted pyramid

Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre)

Architect : I.M Pei, Pei Cobb Freed and Partners
Height : 21.6 metres (about 71 feet)
Square base sides : 35 metres (115 ft)

When it was proposed?

Plan was proposed by the French president François Mitterrand in 1981.
Completed in 1989 as Phase 1 of government renovation project.

Purpose of construction?

To expand and modernize the Louvre Museum by construction of Louvre pyramids as structure was very confusing, different wings had different entrence and exits which troubled the visitors.

How it connects the museum?

Underground links to museum wings. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Visitors entering through the pyramid descend into the spacious lobby then re-ascend into the main Louvre buildings.

Controversy behind Louvre Pyramids

Pyramid gained controversy due to its modern structure because many people thought that aesthetically classical structure of museum and modern structure of pyramid will look strange.

It has been claimed by some that the glass panes in the Louvre Pyramid number exactly 666, “the number of the beast”, often associated with Satan. But Louvre cleared that it was found to have total 673 panes.

Construction of Pyramid

Pyramid structure was engineered by Nicolet Chartrand Knoll Ltd. of Montreal and Rice Francis Ritchie.
Construction work on the pyramid base and underground lobby was carried out by the Vinci construction company.

Materials used in construction

603 rhombus-shaped glass segments
70 triangular glass segments
128 steel girders and 16 steel cables to hold the panes together

3 pyramids in exterior

Louvre Pyramid surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard with modern fountains.The Dolphin Centre, featuring a similar pyramid, was opened in April 1982, by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

Interior of pyramid

Inverted pyramid which points downward that functions as a skylight in an underground shopping complex in front of the museum with a small stone pyramid.

The mall includes shopping centre, a food court McDonalds, Souvenir, Virgin Megastore, Esprit, the first Apple Store.

Inverted Pyramid (La Pyramide Inversée)

Phase 2 of government renovation project.
Completed in 1993.

Architect : Pei Cobb Freed and Partners
Width : 16 m
Height : 7 m

Material and construction of inverted pyramid?

Inverted pyramidal shape in laminated glass points downward towards the floor.
Tensioned against a 30-ton, 13.3-meter square steel caisson frame.

Small stone pyramid on ground

Directly below the tip of the downwards-pointing glass pyramid, a small stone pyramid (about 1 meter height) is stationed on the floor, as if mirroring the larger structure above.

The tips of the two pyramids almost touch. The tip of the pyramid is suspended 1.4 meters (a little more than 4.5 feet) above floor level.

Awards and achievements

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.”

Recommended links-

Story of Louvre Museum
Artwork collection at Louvre Museum


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