Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris

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Centre Georges Pompidou (; also known as the Pompidou Centre in English) is a complex in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil and the Marais. It was designed in the style of high-tech architecture.

It houses the Bibliothèque publique d'information, a vast public library, the Musée National d'Art Moderne which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe, and IRCAM, a centre for music and acoustic research. Because of its location, the Centre is known locally as the Beaubourg . It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who decided its creation, and was officially opened on 31 January 1977 by President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. The Centre Pompidou has had over 150 million visitors since 1977.


The Centre was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, the British architect couple Richard Rogers and Su Rogers, Gianfranco Franchini, the British structural engineer Edmund Happold (who would later found Buro Happold), and Irish structural engineer Peter Rice. The project was awarded to this team in an architectural design competition, whose results were announced in 1971. Reporting on Rogers' winning the Pritzker Prize in 2007, The New York Times noted that the design of the Centre "turned the architecture world upside down" and that "Mr. Rogers earned a reputation as a high-tech iconoclast with the completion of the 1977 Pompidou Centre, with its exposed skeleton of brightly colored tubes for mechanical systems. The Pritzker jury said the Pompidou "revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city."

Initially, all of the functional structural elements of the building were color-coded: green pipes are plumbing, blue ducts are for climate control, electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements and devices for safety (e.g., fire extinguishers) are red.<ref name=cp_architecture/> However, recent visits suggests that this color coding has been partially removed, and many of the elements are simply painted white.


The Centre was built by GTM and completed in 1977. The building cost 993 million 1972 French francs. Renovation work conducted from October 1996 to January 2000 was completed on a budget of 576 million 1999 francs.<ref name=cp_architecture/>

Building specifications<ref name=cp_architecture/>
Land area 2 ha
Floor area 103,305 m2
Superstructure 7 levels
Height 42 m (Rue Beaubourg side), 45.5 m (Piazza side)
Length 166 m
Width 60 m
Infrastructure 3 levels
Dimensions Depth: 18 m; Length: 180 m; Width: 110 m
Materials used<ref name=cp_architecture/>
Earthworks 300,000 m3
Reinforced concrete 50,000 m3
Metal framework 15,000 tonnes of steel
Façades, glass surfaces 11,000 m2
Opaque surfaces 7,000 m2


Several major exhibitions are organized each year on either the first or sixth floors. Among them, many monographs:

  • Paul Davis (1977)
  • Henri Michaux (1978)
  • Dalí (1979)
  • Pollock (1982)
  • Bonnard (1984)
  • Kandinsky (1984)
  • Etienne-Martin (1984)
  • Klee (1985)
  • Cy Twombly (1988)
  • Frank Stella (1988)
  • Andy Warhol (1990)
  • Max Ernst (1991)
  • Matisse (1993)
  • Joseph Beuys (1994)
  • Kurt Schwitters (1994)
  • Gerard Gasiorowski (1995)
  • Brâncuşi (1995)
  • Sanejouand (1995)
  • Bob Morris (1995)
  • Francis Bacon (1996)
  • Fernand Léger (1997)
  • David Hockney (1998)
  • Philip Guston (2000)
  • Picasso (2000)
  • Jean Dubuffet (2001)
  • Roland Barthes (2002)
  • Max Beckmann (2002)
  • Nicolas de Stael (2003)
  • Sophie Calle (2003)
  • Cocteau (2003)
  • Philippe Starck (2003)
  • Miró (2004)
  • Aurelie Nemours (2004)
  • Charlotte Perriand (2005)
  • Robert Rauschenberg (2006)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (2006)
  • Yves Klein (2006)
  • Hergé (2006)
  • Annette Messager (2007)
  • Richard Rogers (2007)
  • Samuel Beckett (2007)
  • David Claerbout (2007)
  • Julio González (2007)
  • Alberto Giacometti (2007)
  • Louise Bourgeois (2008)
  • Pol Abraham (2008)
  • Titiana Trouvé (2008)
  • Miroslav Tichy (2008)
  • Dominique Perrault (2008)
  • Jean Gourmelin (2008)
  • Jacques Villeglé (2008)
  • Ron Arad (2008)
  • Alexander Calder (2009)
  • Kandinski (2009)
  • Pierre Soulages (2009)
  • Etienne-Martin (2010)
  • Lucian Freud (2010)
  • Arman (2010)
  • Edvard Munch (2011)

Stravinsky Fountain

The nearby Stravinsky Fountain (also called the Fontaine des automates), on Place Stravinsky, features sixteen whimsical moving and water-spraying sculptures by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle, which represent themes and works by composer Igor Stravinsky. The black-painted mechanical sculptures are by Tinguely, the colored works by de Saint-Phalle. The fountain opened in 1983.

Video footage of the fountain appeared frequently throughout the French language telecourse, French in Action.

Place Georges Pompidou

The Place Georges Pompidou in front of the museum is noted for the presence of street performers, such as mimes and jugglers. In the spring, miniature carnivals are installed temporarily into the place in front with a wide variety of attractions: bands, caricature and sketch artists, tables set up for evening dining, and even skateboarding competitions.

Provincial branch

In 2010, the Centre Georges Pompidou opened a provincial branch, the Centre Pompidou-Metz, in Metz a city 170 miles east of Paris. The new museum is part of an effort to expand the display of contemporary arts beyond Paris’s large museums. The new museum’s building was designed by the architect Shigeru Ban with a curving and asymmetrical pagoda-like roof topped by a spire and punctured by upper galleries. The 77 meters central spire is a nod to the year the Centre Georges Pompidou of Paris was built – 1977. The Centre Pompidou-Metz displays unique, temporary exhibitions from the collection of the Musée National d'Art Moderne, which are not presented in Parisian mother house. The first exhibition, called Masterpieces?, attracted over 800,000 visitors during the year following its opening.

Use in film and television

A fifth floor room of the building featured as the office of Holly Goodhead (played by Lois Chiles) in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker, which in the film was scripted as being part of the space station of the villainous Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale).

Public transport

  • Nearby Métro stations: Rambuteau, Les Halles
  • RER: Châtelet – Les Halles

See also

  • List of museums in Paris

Further reading

  • Nancy Marmer, "Waiting for Gloire: Beaubourg Opens in Paris," Artforum, February 1977, pp. 52–59.

External links

Source en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_Georges_Pompidou