The architect I.M. Pei
Cour Napoléon with the pyramid
It was the Sino-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei who took over the first major part of the modernisation concept for the museum. His project, which involved the construction of a huge pyramid in the centre of the cour Napoléon, was exhibited at the palais de l'Elysée in 1983, where it caused considerable controversy right from the outset. A lifesized simulation was planned and executed in 1985, when the project was given final approval.
Architect Pei's pyramid, surrounded by fountains, which marks the entrance to the new museum, thus only constitutes a very small part of renovation works and enlargements of unprecedented scale. They include the restoration of the buildings, transformation into exhibition areas of the former Finance Ministry, creation of an underground parking area for 80 coaches and 600 private cars, a shopping area ("Carrousel du Louvre"), the French Museum Research Laboratory, the amphitheatre of the Ecole du Louvre, spaces for the Union des arts décoratifs, technical equipment and fashion presentation rooms.
At road level, the jardin du Carrousel has been redesigned, and the terrace covering the former avenue du Général-Lemonnier will form a continuous area linking up the jardin des Tuileries, which has also been completely restored. This will create 30 hectares of garden area.