PRESENTER: Our next speakers will, in fact,
talk about a specific relationship between mene
et manus, between art and engineering,
in the world of architecture.
We are very honored today to have
with us architect IM Pei, class of 1940,
formerly with the firm of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.
Of course, Mr. Pei is very well-known
for many, many buildings.
And I will not list them all.
Some of them are particularly important for the arts,
including, of course, the Louvre, the East
Wing of the National Gallery at Washington DC,
and many MIT alums are familiar particularly with the Meyerson
Hall for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra,
a remarkable building.
At MIT, Mr. Pei has not only designed the Wiesner Building
on Ames Street but the arch to that building, which
is a gateway into East Campus as you cross Ames Street, also--
not, I think coincidentally--
when you are walking toward the campus,
frame his three buildings in the main quadrangle
with, in perspective, the MIT dome
overall, the three buildings on the main campus with their very
stark geometry of verticals and horizontals, triangles
Most recently-- or not most recently, but among Mr.
Pei's most recent works--
are the Bank of China in Hong Kong
and the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City.
And I think we will be hearing about some of these works
Mr. Pei has also been affiliated with MIT since 1972
as a member of the Council for the Arts at MIT.
And we appreciate his years of membership on that group.
Talking to Mr. Pei today will be Dean William Mitchell.
Dean Mitchell has been at MIT since 1992,
and he is particularly well-known for his book,
published by The MIT Press, The Reconfigured Eye, which
deals with digital photography and, in fact,
visual images that do not represent the real world.
Dean Mitchell is working very hard
in the School of Architecture to lead the School of Architecture
into the 21st century with his Virtual Design
Studios and The Design Studios of the Future
using computer technology to create a seamless process
from the initial designs through to the communications
with clients, engineers, and others.
Please help me to welcome IM Pei and Dean William Mitchell.
MITCHELL: Redoing the Louvre--
that sounds much better.
Redoing the Louvre is an extraordinarily
large and complex project involving technical problems,
organizational problems, political problems, certainly,
problems of very complex cultural symbolism.
So what we thought we'd do today is
to ask Mr. Pei to describe a little bit of his thought
processes, what the problem was about, the solution that he
And then, we'll take some time to discuss this truly
So Mr. Pei.
PEI: Professor Morrison talked about hundreds of centuries.
I'm talking today on the subject of the Louvre
about eight centuries, the history of 800 years.
But these are very important 800 years for the French, at least.
It's the building of the period during which French nation was
It's a period that, I would say, that's
roughly parallel the recent French history.
In fact, it's also a wonderful symbol for them, at least,
of French civilization.
So therefore, the problem of the Louvre for the architect
is not just a technical problem, architectural problem.
But it's a problem that has many, many challenges.
I would like to start off by telling you
something about the history of the Louvre.
Now, I don't have too much time, but I'll
try to make it very brief and, therefore, incomplete.
It started in 1202 by, I think that you can call him a French
King, Philippe Auguste, who built this fortress
on the right side of the sand to protect the Ile-de-France,
which is now the Il de la Cité, which is the place where
the heart of French life at that time in Paris took place.
It was built as a fortress, le donjon, as they call it.
And it's important because I wish
I'd taken some slides to show you what it is like today.
But anyway, it was a wonderful building
where they put prisoners, where they put ammunition.
It's a very important place to protect,
let's say, something that they considered
to be very important.
It lasted as a donjon, or as a fortress,
for roughly, I would say, maybe 200 years.
It did not become really a place for the Kings
to live in until about the end of 14th century.
And I think Charles V was the king that one should remember.
Because that's the beginning of Louvre,
not only as a place for the king to live in but also
the beginning of French art.
The first library of France was there,
and the collection of many, many objects of Charles V
was displayed there.
Now, for how many years since then--
1400 to today?
I would say 500 years, 600 years.
Nearly all the French kings that you know of of any importance
have either lived there, died there, married there,
and born there.
So therefore, it's an important place.
So therefore, this is not really surprising
that when someone like myself--
I guess I can consider myself an American of Chinese descent--
has to tamper with a very important part
of French history.
So I'm going to go through this in two phases
to show you what I went through.
Phase one lasted five years, from 1983--
six years-- to 1989.
And during those six years, the plan
was laid, how to deal with the problem.
It's a very complex problem.
And the pyramid was built.
But before the pyramid was built, we had a lot of trouble.
We wasted two years.
It's a media that I had to deal with at that time.
And I was totally unprepared.
And my French language is just not adequate for that purpose.
But I had to deal with the media to try
to convince the French that this was the right thing to do.
So therefore, even though it took six years, but only
four of those six years were devoted
to architecture and the building of the phase one.
Now, phase two is less spectacular
in the sense of public information
but is perhaps the more important of the two.
Because it completed a wing called Richelieu.
And without that wing, there would be no Louvre today.
And we couldn't get that wing until 1985.
The wing-- I tell you what the wing is.
The wing was occupied by the Ministry of Finance ever
since, oh, I would say Napoleon III.
Only 200 years-- 150 years.
No, less-- 1856--
150 years, yes.
And they refused to move.
And at that time, the pyramid is already discussed.
And people say, OK, if you must have it.
Yes, Mitterrand must want it.
But I said, look here, there's no point
to build the pyramid if we don't have the Ministry of Finance.
So that gave the president another headache.
But long story short, we moved them out in 1989.
So the second phase is the building of the Richelieu wing.
It's architecturally not, of course, spectacular
but very important.
Because I have to keep the facade.
The only thing I could do is inside.
And we demolish everything inside
except a big suite of Second Empire rooms--
very beautiful rooms, you must go and see it--
and two or three staircases.
And the rest of Richelieu was completely gutted.
So it was a major engineering project but not
very spectacular, except there are some interesting things
inside, which you will see when you come.
So because of time, I'm going to start with phase one quickly.
MITCHELL: You have your slide changer.
PEI: Oh, yes.
I'm going to have to learn how to use this.
MITCHELL: Press the top there.
And this one for the other side.
This one here.
PEI: Excuse me.
MITCHELL: We have to sort out the technology here.
Oh, I see.
MITCHELL: There we go.
PEI: Oh, I see.
Now I understand.
Now Louvre, as you know it, perhaps
without too much debate among architects and planners,
is perhaps the most important urban composition in the world
There's no other that can compare with it.
It's history-- 800 years in the building.
It started as a fortress and then was
added on by kings after kings.
But the important kings to remember
that built the Louvre are probably,
I would say, Charles V, Francis I, Henry II, Henry IV,
Louis XIII, Louis XIV, and eventually,
Napoleon I and Napoleon III.
And there are many other kings in between that added something
But those were the important kings.
And it can also be said that, perhaps,
every important French architect-- nearly every,
from Lescot to Mansart to Le Vau under Louis XIV--
many, many others-- and then eventually Lefuel, Visconti--
they all participated in the building of it.
So therefore, it's not surprising
that if you come into this wonderful complex that's
already formed and to try to do something with it.
Now, the reasons why something had to be done to the Louvre
is for the reason that you know, that it was built first
as a fortress, and it was added on
and added on to try to make it more comfortable for king
And to turn it into a museum in 1793,
the convention is a move that was correct--
interesting-- because it became Louvre.
It became a public museum for the first time 200 years ago.
But it was not at all suitable for a museum
because it was meant for life, for kings to live in.
So the Louvre has never really worked as a museum.
I was there for the first time on a fellowship--
not MIT but Harvard fellowship.
I did receive MIT fellowship, but it was during the war.
I couldn't do anything with it.
I live across the street from the Louvre
in a very tiny, little hotel.
And I went over there every day to look at it.
And I'll tell you, in those years,
you really have to have time to see the Louvre because you
get lost in it and you don't know where anything was.
And there are no toilets, no restaurants--
nothing of that sort.
But it had a wonderful collection,
and you have to go back time and time again to find surprises.
And that was the way Louvre was to all of you, to many others,
until something happened in 1989.
So therefore, Louvre is a wonderful complex of buildings.
But Louvre Museum was not.
Louvre Museum happened to be a tenant in the Louvre.
It was occupied by the Ministry of Culture
running the Museum of France.
It was occupied by the Ministry of Finance,
occupied by many, many others.
Louvre Museum occupy a long, long wing along the Seine.
And it's about, I would say, 800 meters long.
And that wing was almost impossible to go
from one end to the other without going up
and down and there.
So therefore, most people who went to the Louvre,
as I did, probably only saw, maybe, 25% of it.
And the rest, you just miss.
You have to have a guide.
And I didn't have a guide.
So therefore, I had to go back time and time
again to find new things, new surprises.
So Louvre did not work as a museum.
And the French knew it.
But they wanted, finally, under Mitterrand,
to do something about it.
And the one move that was perhaps the most important move
of all I mentioned earlier.
It was the recapturing of the Richelieu wing
from the Ministry of Finance.
Now, this is perhaps not a very good slide.
But you can see the importance of Louvre
in the heart of Paris.
Because it's situated perhaps in the most important--
really in center--
heart of Paris.
And yet, it separated the left bank from the right bank.
There's no way to penetrate except by car
from left bank, which is below to the right bank.
So it became, actually, a barrier.
And that became an urban design problem of first magnitude.
Because we have to open up the Louvre.
To open up the Louvre, then you rejoin the two parts of Paris,
not by car--
you can always drive around-- but on foot.
And this is one of the challenges that
is least talked about but has, in my opinion, the most
The access of the Louvre leads all the way to Saint-Germain.
And it all, probably, is, again, when
I say the most important urban composition,
I really should say that it's the most important axis
of the world.
There's no axis like that that leads
all the way from the Louvre to Saint-Germain.
It went through the Garden of the Louvre, which you all know,
Place de La Concorde, up Champs-Élysées to the Arc de
Triomphe and then on to La Défense and then La Défense
[? beyond. ?] Now, this is a diagram of the Louvre to show
you the gray area on top was occupied by the Ministry
The ochre, the yellowish color wing, 800 meters long--
half a mile long--
occupied not just by the museum, by the museum
and by the museum administration of France.
And French bureaucracy, I tell you, takes up a lot of space.
So it's not all museum.
You can see that people come by one side of the courtyard
and enter there while you're waiting
in line if you're lucky--
a good day.
You don't mind, but then you'll be
pestered by people trying to sell you all kinds of things
that you don't want.
But nonetheless, the people--
three million people-- continue to come.
For this collection.
But you really have to go through, really,
a very uncomfortable experience in the process.
Now, what I saw at that time when
I was asked by the French government to say,
can you do something about the museum?
I said, I don't know.
But anyway, I'll try.
And the one thing that became apparent to me,
when I look at this problem, I said the Ministry of Finance
has to go.
And I said, the reason is simple.
I said, when you want to build a modern museum, Louvre,
why it is not a modern museum--
for simple reason.
And that is in modern museum--
which I knew well then because I finished the National
about 50% of exhibit space has to be matched
by 50% of supporting spaces--
reserve, conservation laboratories, restaurants,
auditorium, lecture halls, public reception spaces,
toilets, things like that-- which it did have--
tiny little toilets.
In fact, I remember very well that when I went there,
I frequently had to leave the Louvre because I
have to find a place to go.
And then, when you leave the Louvre,
some people don't come back again.
So they lost a lot of people.
And it's not really surprising that the average stay
of visitors to the Louvre is only one hour and a half,
whereas the National Gallery is three and a half hours.
Metropolitan Museum-- about the same.
So I said that the key to making Louvre
function as a museum is to change the Louvre from 800
up and down, up and down--
to something very compact.
But you can give up this wing, the floor where
the Spanish paintings were--
or still are-- and give it to other uses.
But you must move the Louvre to that part.
And that way, you accomplish two things,
which is essential to making Louvre Museum function.
Number one, you can excavate that court--
which is in gray area--
the Napoleon court.
We can go down two levels.
It goes to the level of the Seine,
which is about 10 meters down.
You can go down two levels.
And you can recapture half a million square feet of space
just by excavating that.
And why not?
You can use that space for reserve.
You can use that space for all the infrastructure
support that a modern museum needs.
Because under the old Louvre, there's no foundation.
There's no space.
They have some pipes and that's about all.
But nothing there-- there's some sewers that go through.
But that is the key to making the Louvre
into the modern museum.
Second reason is that if you put the center of the Louvre
not on one side, down below, but really
in the middle of that gray area, you've
got the center of gravity of the Louvre right there.
And from that point, you can go to the three wings.
Louvre had three wings.
Do you know?
Venus de Milo is there, and Mona Lisa is there.
And to Richelieu and to Sully, very short distance--
not 800 meters anymore.
It's going to be only about something that's
50 meters, the difference so that you can divide Louvre
into, really, three parts, even though they're interconnected
upstairs-- three parts, and each part
is at least several days' visit.
So a big museum, you may wonder whether you
need a museum this size.
But be that as it may, it's a big museum,
and that's the only way to solve the problem.
So therefore, I told the president,
I said, you've got to do two things.
You've got to let us dig under the court.
Because there may be relics there.
The project could have been stopped if they found
something important there.
And then, you also have to find a way
to move the Ministry of Finance.
At this point, it's not so funny at that time.
But this tells you something about the man who is still
the president of France.
I don't know of any heads of state
in the world that has the kind of breadth of understanding
of the history and culture not only of France
but of the world.
He's really a remarkable man.
He may not be the greatest politician.
I don't know.
Time will tell.
But he was and he is a really exceptional leader when
it comes to art and culture.
And I could not have done anything there without him.
The court, before we did anything with it,
was a parking lot.
It's a parking lot for the bureaucrats that occupied
the Ministry of Finance.
The court, after excavation--
one year, archaeologists were digging, really, literally,
And they found things, all right,
but nothing terribly important.
Because this court, unlike the court
which I wish I had slides to show you with the marvelous
donjon foundation, is now on display,
which, when you go there, you see.
This court was inhabited by people who served the kings.
There's a little church.
And that's about all.
And therefore, there's nothing that is so important
that they say stop.
We were very fortunate.
From '84 to '85, that year, we were
waiting to see what happened.
We wish they discover nothing.
And the archaeologists, of course,
wish they had found something.
But anyway, they found nothing of importance,
and we proceeded to get the green light.
Now, here I want to show you the organization of the Louvre.
This is the court.
The rest of the Louvre's not shown here.
It's only the Napoleon Court.
By putting an object--
something-- in the center of this court--
let's say Napoleon Court--
you can connect the three pavilions
in a very short and direct way and very understandable.
You can see it.
When you are in the court or in the hall below,
you can look out, and you can see Denon, Richelieu,
And that clarity of orientation is key to a big museum.
This is an urban study.
So to try to ventilate Paris, you must first
ventilate the Louvre.
To ventilate the Louvre, you have to do several things.
You can come over from the left bank over Pont des Arts, which
is a pedestrian bridge--
a wonderful bridge, architecturally.
From engineering point of view, it's a wonderful bridge.
And then you enter into Cour Carrée and then turn left.
But you have to do two things in order to make it truly open.
One is that you have to open that passage under Richelieu,
called Passage Richelieu, to lead you to the Place du
Palais-Royale, which is right--
and then, from then on, to Palais-Royale,
and then to Pompidou Center, which you know.
The second thing that you must also do
is to open up the garden.
A new bridge is being built. I think
it's about to start construction here so that you can walk
from Orsay, which is where the wonderful Impressionist
collection is today, from Orsay all the way to the Louvre.
And that will open up the Louvre.
And once that Louvre is opened up, it no longer is a barrier.
It becomes a connector.
This was a drawing done by Steve, who's here,
Steve [? Oves. ?] I show this drawing to the president.
And he was not shocked.
Perhaps he was the only man that was not shocked.
But when I show it to the press, they were shocked.
And I tell you, from that point on, as I say,
18 months of just nothing but harassment by the media.
But still, we got the green light.
And the president, as well as his official,
who was in charge of the Louvre-- an important man,
said, let's dig.
Because the archaeologists has already said it's OK.
And this was what you see.
And that was the beginning of another furor and people
demonstrating and everything except they didn't
do anything really serious like committing suicide
and like that, but very close--
There were a few.
Now I'm going to go quickly because of time.
Quickly, to show you how the building process did.
And the building of this palace was remarkably fast.
The French contractors are incredibly good.
They're very, very good.
These are slides that shows the construction.
This is Napoleon Court, by the way.
This is not the rest.
It's only one part--
the important part.
This is the part where the pyramid must emerge.
And the square grid that you see, the structural steel
member there, they're all on bearings.
It can move.
It can move.
And they're supported on four columns, and that's all.
We had about 60 or some slides because from one vantage point,
they took pictures every so many months.
But I'm only showing you a few.
So that's very quick.
But it took--
It took 18 months to reach this stage.
And at this point, I would say, it's the end of phase one.
It was open in spring 1989.
And Mitterrand was there to cut the ribbon.
And it was rather well-received by then.
But still I would say there were, maybe,
30% or 40% people still not very happy with it
and for any number of reasons.
But nevertheless, it was built.
And since this is MIT, I thought I have to bring this slide.
If I show it to another audience,
they would not be interested in it.
And I'm going to show you some of the slides
of the construction.
But one thing that should also interest you
that the French government make no secret of it,
they want everything to be made in France.
And the only exception, which I asked the president
to allow us, is to have all the tension elements made
in Massachusetts by a small rigging company that did
the America's Cup, the yachts.
I don't know whether Bill Coke is here or not
but he would know.
And we are the best.
And I showed him some samples of the rigging,
how the 10 buckles fit into the cable and all that.
And he was fascinated with it.
And because he liked it so much that he didn't even
bother to say, is there a French equivalent to it?
We just say, go ahead.
So we did it.
And on the other hand, the glass problem.
You see, glass has to be white, has to be clear.
If the glass is not clear--
this is laminated, you know, it's double layer.
It's very thick.
It's about almost 3/4 of an inch thick.
If it's not clear, it will be green.
And you will see it through the corner of this glass.
It will be very dark green, bottle green.
So therefore, that is not acceptable because the Louvre,
you see, the composition of the Louvre must be seen.
And the ochre color stone shouldn't look green.
So therefore, I requested the French manufacturer,
Saint-Gobain, to make this glass.
They say no.
We no longer make them.
And then, finally, they say, well,
if you built 1000 pyramids, we'll make them for you.
So I didn't report this to the president.
I went to a German firm, Schott Glass.
I say, can you make it?
Yes, we can.
Saint-Gobain said, we'll make it.
I'm going to go very quickly--
the making of the pyramid.
The pyramid has one virtue.
It's a very stable form.
You know that.
And consequently, it requires the least amount of steel
in order to support it.
And consequently, if you use the finest technology
available to you, technologically, to build it,
it will be the most transparent form.
And it must be the most transparent form
because you want to see that composition.
That composition is so important to the world,
not just to France,
So you may ask, do you need something that projects?
Many architects in France, as well as abroad,
suggested, why not just have a glass sheet on the ground,
and you bring light in just as well?
But I said, no.
I said, you have to have space.
You go into the lower level 10 meters down, nine meters down,
and you don't want to have a glass ceiling.
That word may mean something to some.
You don't want a glass ceiling.
You want space.
And so something has to project.
And I defended the pyramid.
And the pyramid, for those of you who know France,
is a very important symbol to French.
I think the French are probably more conscious of pyramid
as a form than any other people because of Napoleon, I guess.
They really went to Egypt.
They took a lot of things away from Egypt.
So the pyramid form is necessary to give you space.
So give you light, give you space, but at the same time,
You can see through it.
And also, you need a symbol.
Because if this is going to be the main entrance
to the Louvre, it cannot be just a subway entrance,
so simply cannot be.
Glass was put in this manner.
And for a long time, there was a debate.
Can you clean the glass?
And we tried different ways.
They hired some Indians from Canada to clean it.
They even tried robot.
Eventually, we clean by robot.
But finally, we got some alpinist
to get up there, hang the rope from the tip of the pyramid,
and wash it.
And it only took two days to wash it.
But now, it took less.
Now, one day is all we need.
So the washing problem no longer a problem.
But for a while, that became also a problem.
Because the French want to find any reason to object to it.
And cleaning the pyramid also kept us quite involved.
Now, you're inside the space.
And you can see the Louvre.
You can see the Louvre through it.
That was D-day.
But no booing-- no booing.
Lots of applause, no booing.
I like that photograph.
You don't see anything.
There's a story about this statue.
During Louis XIV's time--
I'm short of time.
I would try to go quickly.
Louis XIV's time, they invited--
and this shows that in those years, the kings of France
are already very cultured people--
he invited Bernini from Rome to come.
Bernini had just finished the St. Peter's arcade, that wing
that enclosed that space.
Perhaps [INAUDIBLE],, he and Borromini
were the two most important architects of that time.
And the French king wanted the best,
so he invited Bernini to come to do something
in the back of the Louvre-- not the this part--
in the back of the Louvre.
And he was there six months.
And he did not survive the French architects.
And the only thing he left behind-- there a few things
he left behind, not of importance.
But the only big thing that he left behind
is a statue of Louis XIV.
But that was made in Rome, and it was shipped to France
But Louis XIV never liked it because his image at that time
was 25 years ago.
He was a young man then.
He's no longer young.
So he banish it to Versailles, and it remained there.
And because it was not known, it was never vandalized
and never broke--
I mean it was never destroyed during the war
because they just left there.
But it was marble.
It was vandalized by a man from Brittany--
anarchist, I guess-- and no longer salvageable.
But I persuaded the conservator of Versailles
to let us make a cast of it--
the only way.
And they did.
And it's made in lead.
And I thought, we should put it there to remember him
as someone who tried.
But that very important, that location.
I needed something there to terminate the access
of Chance-Élysées because that axis of Le Notre--
the Le Notre axis--
was not terminated at Louvre.
Because the Louvre is a little bit like this--
So it has to be terminated-- not by the pyramid,
by something else, and something that's strong.
And I was fearful of commissioning a French sculptor
at that time.
You don't know what's going to happen.
I'm perfectly frank about it.
You just don't know what--
so that was my escape from responsibility.
Now, the second phase of the Louvre--
not spectacular, not at all polemical,
but extremely important.
Because now, it opened only a few months ago.
If you go there now, you understand
why the pyramid was put there in the first place.
And I think the vindication of the whole plan
is now made possible through the completion of this wing.
And for that reason, even though architecturally, it's
not spectacular because the facade had to be kept
and everything has to be internalized,
done inside-- number two I had to work
with two French architects, which is reasonable.
Because after all, I can't hog it all.
Now, you see under the Napoleon Court,
and this is what it looks like.
This is 10 meters below ground.
You go up three sets of escalators to a intermediate
level-- still below ground--
and you can enter into the three wings of the Louvre.
And the fourth wing, going this way,
goes to shops, parking, bus terminal.
Eventually, all the buses that you see on Rue de Rivoli,
as well as on the [? Quai, ?] will
disappear, as they have now.
They're all underground now.
So urbanistically, that's another very important
And below, at this lower level, we have auditorium.
We have restaurants.
We have a reception area for the young people.
And we have a bookstore-- enormous bookstore--
and the shops and meeting rooms and conference center.
Everything is there.
But below this level, it's all circulation.
There is at truckway that connect all the departments
And there's a large reserve so that all the collection--
nearly all the collection of the Louvre-- now comes back home.
Now, we have to talk briefly about Richelieu wing,
even though, architecturally, as I say,
it's not very spectacular.
The two courts were proposed way back to be covered.
They were parking and trucking for the Ministry of Finance
before, so not used.
By covering it, we can turn it into an exhibition
space for French sculpture.
And further, we also proposed to dig down below the Richelieu
wing, as you see, so that the two courts are
connected at the lower level.
And this was a trucking area, which
now become exhibition area for French sculpture.
This wing house four departments--
the sculpture department, the oriental antiquities
department, the objet d'art, which is probably
the most important objet d'art collection in the world,
I put this in mostly, again, because this is MIT.
This is a pyramid, about 50 feet square, inverted.
Because its positioned at the place where
the circular rotary is.
And you don't want to see any projection there coming up.
Because one pyramid is quite enough.
But to use the same theme--
and we wanted to bring light in--
this is the intersection.
If you go to the bus terminal, to the parking,
and to the shops, you have to go through this point.
So therefore, it's nice to have something
to make people feel they're still in the Louvre.
So now, this suspended pyramid is a major engineering project.
It was designed by a man, Peter Rice
of Arup Associates in London.
And too bad I don't have the drawings.
It's actually a very brilliant design.
The whole thing, there are only four rods in the center, all
And the rest are all cables.
It's cables and four rods, and that's all.
And it has one other very exciting byproduct.
Clearly, I was very proud of it.
Another very important byproduct of this
is the prismatic effect of the glass.
You see the glass, because we don't
have to keep water or rain out of this.
Because inside, we can polish the edges of the glass
and bevel it.
By beveling it, the spectrum of the colors came out.
So at times you see, a sunny day like this,
it's just a rainbow inside.
It's really quite spectacular.
If you go there, make sure you go there on a good, sunny day.
Now, the Richelieu wing, there was
one thing has to be done to the Richelieu wing.
Because it's about the painting collection
is perhaps the most important French painting collection
in the world-- not perhaps, definitely.
And yet, people don't go there.
Because the French conservators want it
upstairs because of daylight.
They are very, very insistent on using daylight--
our conservators are less so--
And for that reason, they take the attic space.
They have a ceiling not very high.
But to get up there, you have to walk up
75 feet, vertical space.
And most people don't walk up there.
So they miss a lot of visitors.
I was told only about, maybe at the most, 10% or 15% of people
go up to the top floor.
And that's a great pity.
So I proposed to put in escalators.
I hate to do that.
It's a 19th century building, and you
don't install something like that
unless you have a good reason.
That was a big battle.
But it was won.
And today, nobody disagree that it's absolutely needed.
Because otherwise, the interconnection up
and vertically, it's very, very difficult.
This is objet d'art.
I show you the sculpture actually.
I show you the object d'art.
These are the Maximilian tapestries, never shown
no place to show it.
Now, they have a place.
And it's a must.
The Maximilian tapestries are a must to see.
They are very dimly lit because of the color of the threads.
Now, before I go into this, this work
here was done by architect Willmotte of France--
of Paris, France.
And my role in the Sculpture Garden and this
is what they call, really, a [INAUDIBLE]..
It's sort of like a coordinator.
I participated in all the decision-making.
I chose them as my architects.
I had that responsibility.
But they should get the credit for it.
Now, this was old Louvre.
The lighting of paintings is a really, a very special science.
It really is.
And it's extremely important.
It's never studied enough.
It just hasn't been.
We don't have good daylight galleries in America.
We don't have it in the National Gallery.
We don't have it in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
They're all like this.
They are laylights with skylight on top,
even though it could have been artificially lit,
and you wouldn't know the difference.
And another disadvantage is that the skylight is very bright.
And therefore, the brightest is the ceiling.
The second brightest is the floor.
The walls, where you want the light to be, looks dark.
And consequently, we decided this
is something we want to do a piece of research on.
And I think one of the major breakthrough,
I consider, in this wing is in the lighting.
The lighting solution is this.
We make the ceiling into three layers.
The first layer's glass, skylight, with a UV filter,
And then, below the glass is an egg crate.
And egg crate is carefully calculated
so that the orientation is such so no direct sun
rays will come in.
It would have been better if they were movable.
Because then we get good light all year round, all seasons.
Unfortunately, the French have experience
with maintenance crew.
They say it won't work here.
And they are right.
So we use fixed louvers that don't have to be touched.
We cut off a lot of light-- a lot more
light than we wanted to.
But it does remove the headaches of the [INAUDIBLE]
that was doing that job.
And the reason of the big cross is
that people have to walk there.
So it has to be wide enough for people
to walk, to clean, to relamp, and that sort of thing.
But you can see the sky if you are walking on one side.
But the light, as you see, now is deflected to the walls.
It's no longer coming down to the floor.
So the walls now are bright.
And they get light.
And that is turned out to be something
that-- the French conservatives are very conservative,
and they accepted this.
And they now claim this is the best in the world.
They have to-- something has to be, always.
And this, they like.
And this is a very important suite
of paintings by Rubens celebrating Marie de' Medici's
journey and eventually to apotheosis.
All the way, and you can see again,
the light is no longer bright on the ceiling.
It's directed to the walls.
And this is another version of it.
This is octagonal room.
That's a long room.
And the previous one, I think, is a square room.
And this is the way the light looks--
no reflection, no reflection.
I guarantee you that--
Richelieu wing was finished in November,
open in November 1993, exactly 200 years after the founding
of the Louvre.
And the Richelieu wing, together with the Napoleon Court,
is now complete.
And therefore, Louvre finally functions
as the way we had planned to.
And some of these slides are mostly
to show you what it looks like when it's all finished.
And young lady is celebrating the event.
So there you are.
I think that's-- oh.
I've used up too much time.