Architecture in History

By Anginella Andal

Three things are important in history: the time the event took place, the people who participated in the event, and the place where the event was set. Architecture as the setting is important in the making of history. It is a witness to important events and changing times. Architecture should be treated as more than just the setting of an event because it is part of the event itself.

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In the movie adaptation of the highly controversial book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the role of architecture is significant. The smallest architectural details are keys to uncovering clues on the truth about Jesus Christ and of Christianity. The protagonists carefully observed every moulding in the buildings. These mouldings or motifs had different meanings, and heavy symbolisms.

The structure with the greatest importance in the film is the Louvre Pyramid which is located in the center of the Louvre Museum. The Louvre Museum was originally a palace; it was converted into a museum in the late 18th century and the pyramid was added in 1989. The Louvre Pyramid stands 24 meters high, is made up of glass held by crisscrossing steel frames, and serves as the main entrance to the Louvre museum. Here, the famous Mona Lisa of Leonardo Da Vinci can be found.

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The structure's translucent characteristic allows a person to see the building behind it.

The glass pyramid harmonizes well with the old buildings that surround it. Its translucent characteristic allows a person to see the building behind it, and the glass reflects the material of the buildings therefore making it blend in. The most remarkable thing about the Louvre Pyramid’s design is the simplicity of its form. It deviates from the rectangular buildings in its surroundings and therefore efficiently distinguishes and emphasizes the entrance to the museum. It is a perfect combination of classic and modern, of old and of new ideas. It is based on the ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza, and its geometric form is in harmony with other famous landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe and the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. The mere choice of construction material makes it look modern. The glass façade permits daylight to fill up the place. At night, it is illuminated by a soft yellow light which mimics the color of the buildings around it.

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The Louvre Pyramid at night.

The Louvre Pyramid was highlighted in the film. Evidently, it was the setting of the first and last scenes. Inside the glass pyramid, a smaller, inverted glass pyramid can be found. And almost touching its tip is another pyramid, this time made of stone. According to the film, these are symbols for the blade and chalice, the male and female, respectively. Supposedly, the stone pyramid extends underground and forms a room that contains the Holy Grail. Its design was manipulated in such way that new meanings were formed.

“The Holy Grail ‘neath ancient Roslin waits
The blade and chalice watch o’er her gates
Adorned by masters loving art she lies
As she rests beneath the starry skies.”

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The inverted glass pyramid inside the Louvre.

The film The Da Vinci Code emphasizes the importance and contribution of art and architecture to history. Though the film is pure fiction, it still says a lot about appreciating art and architecture, what one can gain from looking into details. It also stresses how architecture enhances an occurrence, and how it is so much more than just a space.

SOURCES

http://www.aviewoncities.com/buildings/paris/louvrepyramid.htm
http://www.aviewoncities.com/paris/louvre.htm
http://www.religionfacts.com/da_vinci_code/louvre_pyramids.htm
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/paris-louvre-inverted-pyramid.htm

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