In 1984, Ian Ritchie Architects were invited by Peter Rice of ARUP, in parallel with Rice Francis Ritchie’s involvement with La Villette and the Louvre Pyramid, to help conceive and subsequently in 1988 to develop the detailed design of the structure and glazing for 6000m2 of new roofs to cover the three internal courtyards of the Louvre’s Richelieu wing, to create the Museum’s new sculpture courts proposed by I M Pei & Partners in association with Michel Macary.
The dimensions of the structural elements were an important consideration in the roofs’ design in order to reduce visual weight and minimise deep cast shadows at floor level. Each courtyard is irregular in plan, spans varying between 28-41m. Tied arches with radial ties to restrain in-plane buckling of each arch member provide the principle means of support for the vaulted roofs, which have hipped ends and a spine truss.
Integrated structure and glazing create a shadow tempered environment, together with a ‘virtual curved surface’ which provides a sense of enclosure while permitting natural light to flood the new galleries.
The project was completed in 1992.