Grand Louvre Modernization

The historic Louvre was constructed as a royal palace and was fundamentally ill-suited to serve as a museum.

The challenge was to modernize and expand the building and better integrate it with the city, all without compromising the integrity of the historic structure. The two-phase solution involved reorganizing the long, linear building into a compact U-shaped museum around a focal courtyard.

A centrally located glass pyramid forms the new main entrance and provides direct access to galleries in each of the museum’s three wings. The pyramid’s distinctly modern articulation complements the historic Louvre in a dialogue of harmonious contrast.

Show Facts

9 hectares, including areas within and below the existing museum


62,000 m2 / 667,000 ft2
Public plaza, Hall Napoleon with underground links to museum wings, auditorium, restaurants, museum shop, boutiques, workshops


Establissement Public de Grand Louvre

PCF&P Services

Master planning, architecture, exterior envelope, interior design of public spaces

lead designer

I. M. Pei


Twenty-five Year Award
American Institute of Architects, 2017

Prix d'Excellence
l'Association des Ingénieurs, Conseils du Canada, 1989

Engineering Excellence Competition: First Prize, Structural — Buildings Category
New York Association of Consulting Engineers, 1988

Design Award
European Convention for Constructional Steelwork, 1989

Prix Special
Le Syndicat de la Construction Métallique de France, 1988

Grand Award
American Concrete Institute, Central New York Chapter, 1989

Le Moniteur L'Equerre d'Argent
Prix Spécial Grands Projets Parisiens, 1989

Project Credits

Associate Architect, Paris: Michel Macary; Architectes en Chef de Louvry: Georges Duval, Guy Nicot; Pyramid Structure / Design Consultant: Nicolet Chartrand Knoll, Ltd.; Pyramid Structure / Construction Phase: Rice Francis Ritchie; Traffic: Travers Associates, Clifton, NJ; Images: PCF&P, Serge Hambourg, Stéphane Couturier/ARCHIPRESS, Deidi von Schaewen, Luc Boegly, Koji Horiuchi, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Alfred Wolf