Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989.
This center of Arab culture occupies a beautiful site on the left bank of the Seine, facing the Ile St-Louis from the riverside edge of the University of Paris. The building consists of a museum, a library, an auditorium, offices and meeting rooms assembled within two wings separated by a courtyard opening out toward the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The translucent marble façade of the seven-storey northern wing is elegantly curved to follow the sweep of the quay. At the west end of this wing is the 100'000 volume library, a spiral tower of books behind a transparent wall of glass offering panoramic views. The principal façade of the eleven-storey southern wing consists of 113 photosensitive panels that operate like a camera's diaphragm opening and closing to control the intensity of light in the interior. The jury, while acknowledging that the building is "not successful in all aspects of its design and at times overly complex to use with ease and comfort," found much to commend in its role as "a successful bridge between French and Arab cultures."
Institut du Monde Arabe On-site Review Report, edited by Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1989.
The On-site Review Report, formerly called the Technical Review, is a document prepared for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture by commissioned independent reviewers who report to the Master Jury about a specific shortlisted project. The reviewers are architectural professionals specialised in various disciplines, including housing, urban planning, landscape design, and restoration. Their task is to examine, on-site, the shortlisted projects to verify project data seek. The reviewers must consider a detailed set of criteria in their written reports, and must also respond to the specific concerns and questions prepared by the Master Jury for each project. This process is intensive and exhaustive making the Aga Khan Award process entirely unique.