Centre Pompidou - Place Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Renzo Piano & Richard Rogers
Date Built
Opened on 31 January 1977
Place Georges Pompidou - Rue Saint-Martin
The Pompidou was the brain child of President Georges Pompidou who proposed the creation of a cultural institution in the heart of Paristo focus on modern and contemporary creation.  The competition to design and build it was won by a team led by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.

Rogers says of the Pompidou Centre that it was conceived as, "... a cross between 'an information-oriented computerised Times Square and the British Museum', a democratic place for all people, all ages and all creeds, simultaneously instant and solemn, and the centrepiece of a regenerated quarter of the city. It was to be 'a giant climbing frame' , the antithesis of existing cultural monuments."  He adds that it, "brought together the themes - skin and structure, technology and flexibility, movement and anti-monumentalism - which have characterised Rogers' architecture from the mid 1960s." .... "The structural system is a braced and exposed steel superstructure with reinforced concrete floors. External services give scale and detail to the facades, while the celebration of movement and access is provided by lifts and escalators which, like the services, are placed outside the building envelope."  As with other buildings by Rogers, the external exoskeleton of steel and the placement of services, staircases and lifts on the outside of the building allows for the creation of huge open spaces on the inside of the buildingThe service pipes were colour coded adding to the buildings rather dramatic appearance.

Piano describes the Pompidou as, ".. a humorous and coloured urban machine, not at all high tech, but rather artisan instead, as it was put together piece by piece."

Outside of the building is a large open public space that became a gathering place for people and street entertainers.  Its instant popularity attracted large numbers of visitors every year which took a toll on the building.  It closed its doors in 1997 for renovation but reopened on January 1, 2000.  Apparently the centre attracts in excesss of 6 million visitors a year.

- Inside -

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