Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I love Paris in November



In the tradition of my crepuscular view of Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge, here's a little thing from 2007 that I'll call Paris at Night.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , ,

8 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

No doubt I'll be called a reactionary, a Tory, or just a fuddy duddy but I think I M Pei's pyramid in front of the Louvre is a catastrophic mistake. I've seen it from many angles and at different times of the day and each time, all I want to do is make it disappear. It's a perfectly appropriate structure for elsewhere in Paris (perhaps in La Defense) but to me it looks silly in front of the Louvre.

August 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Don't forget philistine, alter kocker, old fart, and stick in the mud.

The pyramid is the most incongrous public structure I have ever seen, which I suppose is part of the point. It is also the most practical. Creating a central entrance for the far-flung wings of the Louvre was a brilliant idea. And maybe that was part of the reason for putting up a structure that looks like a big Metro station. That's something like what the pyramid is: a practical, utilitarian entrance and exit.

The entrance to the Louvre via the Metro is another piece of ingenous planning. The transition from station through security check, museum shops, post office and into the central museum entrance (beneath the pyramid) is marvelously seamless. It's worth entering the museum that way just for the experience.

That central area, though often mobbed, is far quieter than the similarly shaped area in the British Museum, which may be the most disconcertingly noisy museum area I've ever visited. It looks good, though. But someone should have spent a few pounds on a good acoustical engineer.

August 18, 2009  
Blogger Liliana said...

I agree that it's not that bad. At first sight, it has nothing to do with the Louvre, but I think it conveys the idea of permanent evolution that is so characteristic of Art. And I really like the pyramid(s). (I'm a very open-minded person, of course! lol)

August 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Rather than say I like it or I don't, I'll say the pyramid is striking.

The pyramid is surrounded by the Louvre's three old wings. Imposing old buildings loom above the space on three sides. Should the design for the new entrance have pretended that it, too, was an old building? That might have been cheesy, so I'm tempted to call the pyramid a good idea.

I wonder how other architects have solved the problem of designing a new building for an imposing old space. Examples, anyone?

August 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I think the pyramid has more to do with Mitterand's egomania than any attempt to produce a lasting contribution to the building and its surroundings. Its certainly striking and memorable and that I feel was what Mitterand wanted.

You could easily have built the whole entrance underground, but that wouldnt have gotten the press good and bad that Mitterand craved.

It could have been worse - something by the Corbusier school perhaps - but I dont think it could have been much worse. I'd rather go to L'Orangerie anyway, there the renovations and subtle changes have been brilliantly done.


The British Museum atrium is a good thing on the whole. Yes, its noisy, but the museum is free which encourages visitors and because they dont have to pay I think they think they are in a public space. Visit before 10:30 when the coach parties and school children are still getting themselves lost.

August 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, you'd want to have some presence above ground. I'd agree, though, that if you want subtlety at the Louvre, you'll do better underground than above.

The Great Court at the British Museum would be one of my favorite spaces if not for the noise. I like the shop in the hub, the cafes around the edge, just the shape of the thing. But the racket echoing off the stone does not make for the restful ambiance one wants after a hard day's viewing.

August 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

My old stomping ground the the Denver Public Library is a perennial among those lists of world's ugliest buildings. And it is ugly on the outside. Inside though it's airy, well laid out, clean, efficient, and really quite lovely. Strange that.

August 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Wow, that building certainly does look like oddly assembled collection of shapes. Of course, the Pantheon is an assembly of shapes, too, but it's probably a bit more harmonious than that one.

In any case, I might be able to give a fairer assessment of the Great Court at the British Museum if I lived in London or at least visited long enough to overcome jet lag thoroughly. Fatigue may have made me extra-sensitive to noise on my visits to London.

August 19, 2009  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home