Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture in Paris

Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture in Paris
Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture in Paris

This multidisciplinary center collects in its name the memory of French President Georges Pompidou, who raised the need, as early as the 1960s, to remodel the great Gallic museums (an opinion with which other heads of the Republic had agreed).

There are a series of reflections and realities that are going to be starting points for the materialization of this idea. In the first place, it was considered that the new necessary space to be created should be a meeting point for artists, as well as a cultural catalyst. Also, at this time, the opinion that formats, techniques, the figure of the creator…was undergoing a change will be decisive. Finally, the location of this space would resolve the marginality of the area of ​​Paris where it was planned to be erected (precisely in an attempt to revive that part of the city).

Center Georges Pompidou

It was considered that the museum, in order to fulfill the specified functions, should combine various services such as permanent and temporary exhibition halls, auditoriums, bars, bookstores, etc. In other words, it had to integrate in itself everything necessary to assume the identity of a "cultural center".

A contest was held in 1969 to create this space, and the winners were young Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, who conceived the building based on the idea of ​​a large Meccano, withan industrial look.

At first, both will present a series of aesthetic and functional guidelines that will end up being fulfilled: it should be a "transparent" building, the interior visible, and the systems necessary for the operation of the center should be part of the most cutting-edge technology. Another condition was that these infrastructures should not interfere with the structure of the building itself (the solution that was reached is "in sight", also outsourcing accesses and stairs).

It is a really novel construction and, although today it is not so shocking due to the time that has taken place for an adaptation, in its day it provoked strong criticism. It was considered that turning the museum into a "factory" was contributing to its desecration, something still rare at this time.

The surprise of the greatest critics of the Georges Pompidou was to verify that people did go to the center, contrary to what they had expected (access and a diversity of activities were facilitated, guaranteed by their own conception). The success was such that it has even seen subsequent expansions and a very enterprising decentralization initiative (the Center Pompidou-Metz).

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