Prof: Larry Speck
T.A . Eileen Wright
Institut du Monde Arabe
(Arab World Institute)
The construction of the Arab World Institute is meant to serve 3 objectives.
According to the
Institut du Monde Arabe,
Develop and increase the study, knowledge and understanding of the Arab
world, its language, its civilization and its development endeavors in France
Encourage cultural exchanges, communication, and cooperation between
France and the Arab world, especially in the areas of science and technology
Participate in this way to the development of links between France and the
Arab world, this contributing to a closer relationship between the Arab world and Europe.
Commencement of the building began in 1981 and was finished Nov.1988.
Rue de Fossses Saint-Bernard
With function and form in mind, the building houses: a library and documentation center with a
capacity of over 100,000 books, a museum, a series of offices and meeting rooms, a conference
room, and also a cafeteria and terrace.
The Arab World Institute is located in the urban environment of Paris.
The design for the
building is broken into two sections, each catering to the cities’, architects, and client’s needs.
The building’s northern section is located on the Seine River, while the Southern section “runs
parallel to the university buildings.
The Northern façade, which faces the Seine, is designed to gently caress the flow of the
curving river. By being
gentle with the river, the architects show the form of line. Between the
first and second section, a long driveway used by official guests unveils into the “heart” of the
IMA, an internal courtyard. The Southern façade has “113 photo-sensitive panels with 16,000
moving parts” which allows specific volumes of light to penetrate the façade’s interior .The
photo-sensitive panels operate like a “camera’s diaphragm,” allowing between “10 and 30%” of
daylight to filter.
Each diaphragm is artistically constructed to exemplify Islamic geometric design. The
view from the interior is set to resemble an enormous
The use of diaphragms
allows for the “visual allusion to traditional Arab culture” to be easily obtained .
Also on the