Friday, December 30, 2011

Pompidou Centre

I was prepared to hate the Pompidou Centre, I readily admit to that. However, coming across it while walking through the Marais, I was struck by the sense of scale created by the intricate pieces of its construction and thought "this really fits the neighborhood". Lets backtrack a bit. The Pompidou Centre (or Beaubourg as it is known) was opened in 1977, designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano along with Richard and Su Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini. The award winning building has been turning heads ever since.

Paris, that is central Paris, is not known for its modern architecture so the very existence of this building is surprising. The size is immense, however the scale is broken down into bits by the exposed structure and services which bring it down to a city and even human scale. Now that the colors have faded over the years (believe it or not) it blends a little easier into the charming French gray the city is known for.
Love it or hate it, the building is much beloved and locals crowd the adjacent square on weekends, many calling it "Paris's living room".


Windlost said...

Funny, I alternately hated and loved it when I lived there. Hated it because it didn't seem classic and conformist and loved it because it was bright and fresh.
I always loved the nearby Stravinsky fountain, which is so charming and playful. You know...I never went inside the Pompidou!


Dandy said...

love it! saw the dali show there long ago. so great.

Slim Paley said...

Sorry to say, never liked (to put it mildly) the P.C. during the time I spent in Paris when I was younger.
For me, it didn't come close to the beautiful effect of the old against the new that say i.m.Pei's pyramid in the Louvre had. I'm growing to appreciate that juxtaposition in architecture, especially in very old cities more and more, but this is one just never "took" for me.

Happy New Year to you!

Diogenes said...

Why were you prepared to hate the building?

I saw Richard Rogers give a lecture on the building in 1977 or 1978. He said the put the plumbing, HVAC, etc on the outside so they could have clean, open, expansive gallery spaces.

Personally I love the building and the fountains. I like the fact that the continuity of Haussman's Paris is interrupted by unexpected modern buildings. Like the pyramid.

If you want a city that is nothing but "old," then you have Williamsburg.