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My Favourite Building: Louvre Pyramid, Paris

IM Pei’s Louvre Pyramid attracted controversy during its construction

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Tony Mathews, an associate in Sweett Group’s project management team based in the UAE, has chosen the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, on the right bank of the River Seine, as his favourite building.

“I first saw this building in a news report on TV back in 1989 and was immediately struck both by the dynamic modern interpretation of the pyramid and the relationship with the classical architecture of the Louvre palace itself,” he says.

“The pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) is located in the main courtyard of the Louvre and was designed by IM Pei to comprise a triangular web of supports forming the pyramid shape and clad in lightly tinted glass.

“It was one of the Grands Projets in Paris commissioned by President Mitterrand and functions as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum that has around 10mn visitors each year and houses the Mona Lisa. The museum was originally a fort in the 12th century and developed into a palace for the royal court in the 17th century.

“Individually, both buildings are superb examples of their period and somehow a delicious harmony of scale and proportion spanning eight centuries of architectural development. Pei manages to insert a complex design into a historic building and make it look simple and stunning; truly an intimate solution that I have been fortunate to visit and sit in the Louvre plaza to enjoy.

“I recall being really surprised when the TV report advised that parts of the Parisian population were offended by the futuristic design perceiving it as looking out of place in front of the Louvre. Today, it’s a major landmark and national treasure.”

Tony Mathews, Associate – Project Management, Sweett Group

Tony Mathews qualified as a building surveyor but has since become a fully-fledged project manager with an extensive track record of working on nearly every kind of project ranging from aviation to zoological. In the UK, he mainly worked client-side for a finance house delivering corporate interiors before setting up his own company providing a variety of bespoke project management services.

He then moved into consultancy, and completed the Vincent Hotel in Southport in time for the Royal Open golf tournament in 2008. The hotel won an award for best tourism and leisure project in the North West of England in 2009. By then, Mathews had moved to the Middle East, where he was involved in the construction and fit-out of two tower projects including the iconic CMA Tower project, which won Construction Week's Tower of the Year award in 2012.

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Construction Week - Issue 751
Oct 13, 2019