Construction on the Louvre began in 1546 as a palace for France’s kings until 1682. It is now one of the largest palaces in the world, since every monarch who lived there apparently felt compelled to add onto it. Following the French Revolution, it was opened as public museum. More recently, the Louvre underwent a major renovation and expansion. I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid was completed in 1989 as part of this project and now serves as the main entry into the Louvre. Flanked by baby pyramids as well as shallow triangular pools, the entrance stands apart from the museum’s wings, in the middle of the building’s Napoleon Courtyard. It is through here that visitors descend below ground and into the museum. (Incidentally, subterranean activities are nothing new at the Louvre.) The bold design of this modern glass pyramid has sparked fiery debates and passionate controversy but has come to be appreciated as a renowned landmark in its own right.