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  ALUMINIUM STRUCTURE FOR THE LOUVRE MUSEUM PYRAMID


 

 

 
 
 

The facts
Client: French Cultural Heritage

Required Product: specially designed profiles with anodised electrocolour finishes
Use: special profiles for the Louvre Museum pyramid 

The creative idea of the Louvre Museum pyramid in Paris was launched by the architect I. M. Pei and is linked to projects developed by the architects of the French Revolution. The pyramidal shape is suggested by thetructural, constructive and functional opportunities, as well as architectural criteria and environmental framework.
The juxtaposition between the location of the Louvre in Paris and the glass pyramid, twenty metres in height, is the emblem of coexistence between the antique and avant-garde architecture. 
The project and the construction process (that has lasted 7 years) required the structure had to be the most discrete and transparent possible: in this case the use of aluminium has proved crucial.

The Metra offer
Metra offered its technical skills and expertise to search for innovative solutions. The Metra team, together with the architect, has proposed to find the most suitable solution for the project requirements, from analysis of specific problems up to the planning of the production of the specially made profiles. Metra has the ability to meet the most complex requirements needs, due to flexibility and the use of avant-garde technology.

Realisation
Technically the pyramid has been designed based on a metallic structure of stainless steel that supports 675 rhombus and 118 triangles of special glass. The weight of each segment of glass is 140 kilograms for a total of about 95 tonnes. The structure is a 200 tonne diamond, made with about 50 tonnes of aluminium and stainless steel profiles with glass rhombuses. The steel components are perfectly combined with the glass frame extruded profiles in aluminium alloy, which are supplied by Intexalu, a member of the Metra Group. The aluminium frame and the stainless steel bearing structure are connected through a system of gib screws and eccentrics that allow adjustment in three directions.

The structure of the pyramid falls into the category of “structural glazing”, the technique in which glazed transparent parts are bonded to metal profiles. The external surface of glass remains completely free and uninterrupted as it does not require the use of the traditional support frames. The glass panes are fixed to the underlying structure which is coated with a flourine carbon lacquer to improve the adhesion of the sealant. 

Results
The pyramid has a height of 21.60 metres and the sides of the base are 35 metres long. Its surface is composed of 603 rombhus-shaped panes and more than 70 triangles.

The construction has utilised all the most sophisticated technologies available in the market.
The famous pyramid has become an inalienable part of the landscape and is a symbol of Paris. This imposing structure, as light and transparent as air, is the element having greatest evidence in the 'Grand Louvre' project. Loved and discussed, born from creative imagination combined with technological research, the pyramid stands at the centre of the Cour Napoléon signaling the main entrance of the museum.
The pyramid distinguishes the Louvre Museum and symbolizes the pride of the people of France. The work has contributed to attract visitors and therefore increases the Museum’s takings.

Why aluminium?
Aluminium is the ideal interpreter of innovative architectural projects. The use of aluminium in support structures provides numerous points of strength.

- Lighter than other material: the saving in weight allows better performance.
- Maintenance: due to the excellent resistance of aluminium to atmospheric corrosion, superficial painting treatments are not required.
- More efficient than other materials: an aluminium support structure requires less material than a steel support structure (up to 3 times less).
- Aesthetics: the sum of all the qualities of aluminium takes shape in the exceptional aesthetic results obtained.