The Institute for Islamic Culture is more than a building. It is a prototype, a new and totally original space which aims to articulate cultural functions and worship, to combine research, diffusion of knowledge, the contemporary arts and spirituality.
The IIC reveals itself as a cascading movement of volumes as the building is detached level by level to express the richness and variety of activities. The poetics of movement are also expressed in the structural system of the project, based on the figure of the arch, symbolic and iconic in Islamic culture. The classic system of pillars and beams is replaced in the project by a principle of structural arabesques, arches following gentle curves that intersect non-orthogonally. The colour white expresses the purity of the abstraction. The use of white in the project is an invitation for the expression of colour in all Islamic cultures. It symbolically reunites all colours and reflects light, showing by contrast the glazed openings. It is also found in the metallic arches extruded from the façade that ensure the privacy of the spaces and provide solar shading.
The Institute for Islamic Culture, rooted in Paris’ 18th ‘arrondissement’ and its history, is also a place of ‘radiation’ which has a duty to understand and communicate these foreign cultures, to bring them a new look which will enrich and densify the imaginations of locals and Parisians alike. On rue Stephenson as on rue Doudeauville, each floor can be read separately through of gently shifting volumes, suggesting a movement of all facades. The classic system of pillars and beams is replaced in the project by a principle of structural arabesques, arches following gentle curves that intersect non-orthogonally. On the façade, the arches are superimposed on more offset white Corian arches, which creates a game of shifting and relief from inside and outside the building. This mineral and slightly opalescent material (in reference to the alabaster) gives the whole building a diaphanous and mysterious character.