Following last week's kick-off of the 2017 AIA Honor Awards, the institute announced this morning that the Grand Louvre—Phase I, designed by New York firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, is this year's recipient of the Twenty-Five Year Award, an annual award that recognizes a building "that has stood the test of time by embodying architectural excellence for 25 to 35 years."
Finished in 1989, the project was the first of a two-phase modernization to the Musée du Louvre in Paris spurred by former French President François Mitterrand. The scheme by I.M. Pei, FAIA, reconfigured the museum around a central courtyard featuring the now-symbolic glass pyramid ("an urban beacon," as the museum describes it), which became the new public entrance leading to a below-grade expansion that serves as a central hub for public access throughout the enormous facility. As the firm explains on its website, "The half-mile-long Louvre, previously an obstacle to circulation, thus became a vital gathering place and bridge to the surrounding city." The second phase of the modernization, also by the firm, was completed in 1993.
The 2017 award is the third Twenty-Five Year Award for Pei Cobb Freed. The John Hancock Tower in Boston, Mass., designed by partner Henry Cobb, FAIA, won the award in 2011, and Pei's National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington, D.C. (which recently reopened following a renovation) received the prize in 2004. Last year's Twenty-Five Year Award went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, designed by San Francisco–based EHDD. In 2015, Broadgate Exchange House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill won the prize. The DC Metro station system designed by Harry Weese received the award in 2014.
The 2017 award jury comprised chair Mark Reddington, FAIA, a partner of Seattle-based LMN Architects; Gregory Baker, AIA, an associate vice president based in the Los Angeles office of HNTB; David Cordaro, the American Institute of Architecture Students representative; Leslie Elkins, FAIA, the owner of Leslie Elkins Architecture in Houston; Timothy Johnson, AIA, a partner of NBBJ; William Q. Sabatini, FAIA, a founding principal of U.S. firm Dekker/Perich/Sabatini; Adrian Smith, FAIA, a partner of Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture; Beatrice Spolidoro, Assoc. AIA, an intern at Pittsburgh, Pa.–based Rothschild Doyno Collaborative; and Marilyn Terranova, the interim superintendent for the Pocantico Hills Central School District in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.