Arab World Institute in Paris
The Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) or Arab World Institute (AWI), in English, was established in 1980 in Paris, when 18 Arab countries concluded an agreement with France to establish the Institute to disseminate information about the Arab world and set in motion detailed research to cover Arabic and the Arab world's cultural and spiritual values. The Institute also aims at promoting cooperation and cultural exchanges between France and the Arab world, particularly in the areas of science and technology, thus contributing to development of relations between the Arab world and Europe. Libya joined the agreement in 1984.
Architectural features of the AWI building
The AWI is located in the building also known as Institut du Monde Arabe, on Rue des Fossés Saint Bernard in Paris, France, constructed from 1981 to 1987 with a floor space of 181850 sqft. Jean Nouvel, together with Architecture-Studio, won the 1981 design competition with a project that proposed risk-taking solutions that, over the course of the years, have proven themselves.
The building acts as a buffer zone between the Jussieu Campus, in large rationalist blocks, and the Seine. The river facade follows the curve of the waterway and helps reduce the hardness of a rectangular block, adapting itself to the view from the Sully Bridge. At the same time the building also appears to fold itself back in the direction of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district.
In contrast, the opposite facade is uncompromisingly rectangular. Facing it is a large square public space that opens out toward the Île de la Cité and Notre Dame. Above the glass-clad storefront, a metallic screen unfolds with moving geometric motifs. The motifs are actually 240 motor-controlled apertures, which open and close every hour. They act as brise soleil to control the light entering the building. The mechanism creates interior spaces with filtered light — an effect often used in Islamic architecture with its climate-oriented strategies. This building catapulted Nouvel to fame and is one of the cultural reference points of Paris. It is also noted for receiving the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
The building houses a museum, library, auditorium, restaurant, and offices.
Presidents of the AWI
- Edgard Pisani (1988-1995)
- Camille Cabana (1995-2002)
- Denis Bauchard (2002-2004)
- Rachid Ben Khélil (1987-2008)
- Yves Guéna (2004-2007)
- Dominique Baudis (2007- )
- List of museums in Paris