Paris: Institute of the Arab World
One of the most interesting modern buildings in Paris may well be the Institute of the arab world (1987) on the southern side of the Seine in the Quartier Latin.
Holding a cinema, library, bookshop, museum and an excellent rooftop restaurant (a.o.) it aims at promoting Arab art and culture in France.
From afar the main building may look like an ordinary high rise with lots of reflecting glass but when you get closer its magnificent details appear. On the south side the facade is divided in glass squares each consisting of a number of 'diaphragms' which open and close with the passing time of day and light conditions. The shape of these is inspired by age old arab mosaic patterns and together they give the inside of the building a continuously changing look and atmosphere.