Musée du Quai Branly
Mitterrand sprinkled Paris with bold landmarks, from Pei's glass pyramid at the Louvre to Dominique Perrault's National Library. Georges Pompidou built the colorful machinelike museum. Like its predecessors, Chirac’s new Quai Branly has stirred considerable resentment. Defiant, mysterious and wildly eccentric, it is not an easy building to love. Its jumble of different structures, set in a lush green garden on the bank of the Seine in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, hardly conforms to notions of Parisian monumental elegance. Yet, Jean Nouvel's design creates a kaleidoscopic montage of urban impressions. And once you give yourself over to the experience, you may find it the greatest monument to French popular culture since the Pompidou. The building combines angular glass walls with futuristic cubes of bright color and outside, a green wall of thick vegetation, suggestive of a forest or a jungle. An enormous curved glass wall shields the garden from cars roaring by. An urban oasis.