Letter: Grockle Ducts past and present

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The Independent Online
Sir: Bryan Appleyard (30 June) is right. The pyramid at the Louvre is a disaster. On two recent visits I, like all the other tourists, have had to queue under this vast glass sun trap. We sweated and mopped our brows in distress. By designing a glass superstructure that concentrates the rays of the sun, countered by an air-conditioning system, Mr Pei has set up a daily contest: Electricite de France vs the sun.

The architect has ignored the lessons of the Louvre itself and thousands of other fine French buildings: to live comfortably with the sun, three items should be employed - thick walls, shuttered windows and strategically placed trees.

Repelled by the oven under the pyramid, Mr Appleyard denied himself the next stage of the Louvre-Pyramid experience: the subterranean walk. Through dark passageways, one is directed up and down staircases as one searches for the galleries. It is rather like Oxford Circus underground station in the rush hour.

One used to be able to pop into the Louvre for an hour of pleasure. The pyramid entrance and the underground passages have raised an obstacle so unpleasant that word should be spread abroad: this building no longer welcomes visitors; it tries to make them feel ill.

Yours sincerely,


London, NW3

30 June