Centre Pompidou (Pompidou Center)
19 rue Beaubourg
75004 Paris
France

Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers 1977

The Centre Pompidou is something of a victim of its own success. It was much criticized for requiring temporary closure for a major renovation after only twenty years' service, but this is at least mitigated by the volume of people it has been required to host: over 25,000 per day, compared with the 5,000 anticipated. And if its massive, brightly colored, maverick form looks less radical today, that's because of how much its revolutionary hi-tech construction has been copied and extended.

 

 

 

The Centre Pompidou broke the mold with its 'inside out' construction: the steel skeleton from which the floors are suspended dominantly visible from the outside, together with the giant external escalators, with the color-coded service ducts exposed on both the inside and out. Now that the fact of these appearances is no longer shocking, attention focus on how they are done. Twenty years, on the escalator remains a phenomenon, and the plaza continues to thrive, but the exhibition spaces themselves, and the rather dry, regular block shape of the overall building, are beginning to come across as almost a little dull.

 

 

Simon Glynn 2001


How to visit

Enter by the plaza, place Georges-Pompidou (but still known by its previous name, place Beaubourg). To get there, take the Metro to Rambuteau (line 11) or Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11); or take the RER (suburban train) to Châtelet/Les Halles.

There is paid parking in both rue Beaubourg and rue des Halles.

Comprehensive visitor information, including opening times, is available in English at the web site of the Centre national d'art et de culture at www.cnac-gp.fr

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