Last summer, I spent some days in London and visited the British Museum. I had been told about its magnificent collection and I was aware of the fact that it would be completely impossible to see everything in a day. Besides, British Museum’s visitors often suffer from a kind of Stendhal syndrome because of the incredible large amount of art, feeling dizzy or even faint after some hours. Therefore, I hoped to live an unforgettable experience.
However, what made me feel most astonished, was not a masterpiece, but the Great Court. As soon as I entered the Museum and found myself into that vast space full of light, I was speechless and amazed. I didn’t expect at all that innovative hall in such an ancient building.
In fact, opening in December 2000, this new heart of the British Museum was built by the architect Norman Foster to commemorate the new millennium. Its most remarkable element is the web-like roof built from steel and glass. It was thought to solve problem of access, circulation and congestion and it has become a sort of urban covered square where the exhausted visitors can rest for a while.
And so did I! When I was completely worn out, I sat there for more than an hour, looking first at the stressed people who tried to see everything and then looking up to see some doves that were walking in a funny way over the glass roof. I felt completely relaxed and inspired. I had been able to avoid the Stendhal syndrome.