Essential Architecture-  Paris

L'Institut du Monde Arabe Arab World Institute


Jean Nouvel


Address: Rue de Fosses Saint-Bernard. Telephone:


1987 to 1988




glass curtain wall Aga Kahn award. 


cultural center Museum,Gallery,Library etc.
The Arab World Institute (AWI) was established during 1980 in Paris, when eighteen 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
AWI is located in the building known as Institut du Monde Arabe, on Rue des Fosses Saint Bernard sin in Paris, France, constructed from 1981 to 1987 with a floor space of 181,850 square feet. Jean Nouvel won the 1981 competition with a project that proposed risk-taking solutions which over the course of the years have proved correct.

The building acts as a buffer zone between the Jussieu Campus, in large rationalist blocks, and the River Seine. The river facade follows the curve of the waterway. With this rounded flow the building loses the hardness of a rectangular block and is adapted 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-en-Laye district.

The opposite facade, on the other hand, is rectangular, without apologies. Facing it is a large square, a visual space that opens out toward the Île-de-France and Notre Dame. Above the glass-clad storefront, a metallic screen unfolds with moving geometric motifs. This intricate structure holds several motor-controlled apertures that act as a "brise­soleil” to control the light entering the building according to the weather conditions and the season of the year. 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.

The building houses a museum, library, auditorium, restaurant, and offices behind the metal sunscreen with active sun control apertures or diaphragms. It is also noted for receiving the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.


Arab World Institute (French)