The Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) or Arab World
Institute (AWI), in English, is an organization founded in Paris
in 1980 by 18 Arab countries with France
to research and disseminate information about the Arab world and its cultural and spiritual values. The Institute also promotes cooperation and exchanges between France and the Arab nations, particularly in the areas of science and technology, contributing to understanding between the Arab world and Europe
joined the institute in 1984.
Architectural features of the AWI building
The AWI is located in a building known as the Institut du Monde Arabe, the same name as the institute, on Rue des Fossés Saint Bernard in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, France. It was constructed from 1981 to 1987 and has floor space of 181,850 square feet (16,894 m sq). Jean Nouvel, together with Architecture-Studio, won the 1981 design competition with a highly original plan for a difficult site that, over the years, have proven to be a successful design solution.
The building acts as a buffer zone between the Jussieu
Campus of Pierre and Marie Curie University
(Paris VI), built in large rationalist urban blocks, and the Seine. The river façade follows the curve of the waterway, reducing the hardness of a rectangular grid and offering an inviting view from the Sully Bridge. At the same time the building appears to fold itself back in the direction of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district.
The motifs are actually 240 photo-sensitive motor-controlled apertures, or shutters, which act as a sophisticated brise soleil that automatically opens and closes to control the amount of light and heat entering the building from the sun.
The mechanism creates interior spaces with filtered light an effect often used in Islamic architecture with its climate-oriented strategies. The innovative use of technology and success of the building's design catapulted Nouvel to fame and is one of the cultural reference points of Paris. Notably, the building received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.The building houses a museum, library, auditorium, restaurant, and offices.