10. L’Institut du Monde Arabe
An estimated 4 to 7 million of France’s residents are thought to have Arabic roots and with this fact in mind, Paris seems a natural place for L’Instituit du Monde Arabe (the Arab World Institute), an organisation helping to research and promote cultural and spiritual values across 18 Arabic countries. Built from 1981 to 1987, the building in itself is an architectural wonder and the proud recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989. The southwestern side of the building is clad entirely in glass, behind which lies a metallic screen with 240 moving geometric pieces. The pieces are actually photosensitive shutters that open and close to control the light and heat entering the building from the sun. The idea is that this mechanism creates filtered light inside of the building, an authentic effect often used in Islamic architecture.