Name Arab World Institute
Location Paris, France
Architect Jean Nouvel, Architecture-Studio, Pierre Soria and Gilbert Lezenes
Year of Completion 1987
The Arab World Institute also know as "Institut du Monde Arabe" is an organization founded in 1980 by 18 Arab countries with France based on researching information on the Arab world and culture.
The architect Jean Novel designed a kinetic facade for the building that responds to environmental changes. The concept was to have a metallic brise soleil on the south facade of the building.
In order to achieve this, the architect uses hight-tech photosensitive devices that control the amount of light that enters the building. The facade is composed of 1600 kinetic elements, which operate like a camera lens, that incorporate a total of 30,000 light-sensitive diaphragms.
The mechanism is highly similar to that of a camera's aperture mechanism. Here are examples of camera apertures and an example of the variety of forms that can be achieved using this mechanism.
The design of these elements was inspired by the traditional moucharabieh patterns in order to pay homage to the Arab culture. During the various phases of the lens the pattern shifts to create voids of different sizes that modify the transparency of the facade. The shapes generated from the pattern are squares, circles and various octagonal forms.
The interior space changes dramatically during the various times of the day when the facade elements shift and change.