About the InstituteIn the 1980's, President Mitterrand initiated the construction of the Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe) to strengthen France's cultural ties with Arab countries.
Jean Nobel, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize for Architecture, was responsible for the design and he used modern materials and advanced technology for the construction and planning of the building.
The southern wall of the building is special because it is built of a mechanism of hundreds of computerized metal squares that open and close according to the amount of light outside. When the sun shines, the shutters close and a smaller amount of light penetrates the building. On rainy days, the opposite process occurs. The mechanism looks like an Arabesque from ancient Muslim paintings and therefore, even if you are not interested in the exhibitions displayed in the building (related to Islamic culture), it is worthwhile to take the elevator to the top floor of the Institute.
If you do not want to enter, but still want to enjoy the spectacular wall carpet, you can sit on a bench in the yard, opposite of the wall.
The northern wall of the building, which faces the Seine River, is slightly rounded.
The building includes a library, research rooms and an auditorium. It also houses a museum that displays archeological findings found in Arab countries and traditional Arabic crafts.
On the ninth floor you will find a spectacular view of the Seine River and its bridges and also a restaurant. The restaurant is a little expensive, but you can wander freely on the terrace and enjoy a great view of the surrounding landscape.