I.M. Pei: JFK Library and Louvre Pyramid

Dewey Rodefer, a French-American living in Paris, recently explored the works of Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei on two continents. Through his photos, Rodefer shows the interesting similarities and connection between two of Pei’s well-known landmarks, the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts and the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, France.

From the JFK Library website: “Pei’s initial design for the Library included a truncated glass pyramid symbolizing President Kennedy’s abruptly cut-off life, a design that re-emerged 25 years later in I.M. Pei’s design for the expansion of the Louvre Museum in Paris.”

Due to delays and local concerns about congestion at the site that was originally reserved for the building in Boston, the museum was moved to a different location that required Pei to rethink the design. In the end, the 115,000 square foot library “consists of a nine-story, stark white, precast concrete tower, 125 feet high, which is contiguous to a glass-and-steel contemplation pavilion measuring 80 feet long by 80 feet wide and 115 feet high.” Construction was completed in 1979.

The iconic Louvre Pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989, it has become a landmark of the city of Paris. The pyramid and its underground lobby were created because of a series of problems with the museum’s original entrance, which could no longer handle the large number of visitors on an everyday basis.

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