The design created a flexible and a dynamic communications centre. A large piazza for public activities and glazed street animate the façade of one of the most visited cultural centres in the world.
The Centre Pompidou brings together the themes which have characterised Rogers’ architecture from the mid 1960s – skin and structure, technology and flexibility, movement and anti-monumentalism. The building was envisaged as a cross between ‘an information-oriented computerised Times Square and the British Museum’, a democratic place for all people and the centrepiece of a regenerated quarter of the city.
Half of the total available site area was set aside as a public square, therefore the Centre had to be tall enough to accommodate 90,000 m2 (one million ft2) of space. The decision to place structure and services on the outside was driven by the need for internal flexibility, as a result providing huge expanses of uninterrupted space on massive, open floors – the staggering scale of these internal spaces is free from the intrusion of services and stairs.
The structural system provided for a braced and exposed steel superstructure with reinforced concrete floors. External services give scale and detail to the façades, while celebration of movement and access is provided by lifts and escalators. The result is a highly expressive, strongly articulated building that has come to be seen as a Parisian landmark.
Yet the achievement at Beaubourg is urbanistic as much as architectural. The building and great public square were intended to revitalise an area of Paris that had been in decline. The neighbouring Marais district, now vibrant and multicultural, underlines the success of the Pompidou’s role as a catalyst for urban regeneration.
The Pompidou’s radicalism is still striking and has proved attractive to a vast public: more than seven million people visit the building every year. The building and its extraordinary contents remain as popular as ever, while crowds fill the square, clustering around musicians, acrobats and fire-eaters. Beaubourg – inside and out – remains as magnetic as ever.
- Place/Date: Paris, France 1971—1977
- Client: Ministère des Affaires Culturelles, Ministère de l’Education Nationale
- Architect: Piano + Rogers
- Cost: £58 million
- Gross Internal Area: 100,000m²
- Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners
- Services Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners
- Quantity Surveyor: Ove Arup & Partners
- Mechanical Services & Superstructure: Laurie Abbott with Shunji Ishida, Hiroshi Naruse, Hiroyuki Takahashi
- Mechanical Engineer: Walter Zbinden with Hans-Peter Bysaeth, Johanna Lohse, Peter Merz, Philippe Dupont
- Site Management: Bernard Plattner
- Main Contractor: Grands Travaux de Marseilles
- Internal & External Systems/Audio Visual: Alan Stanton with Michael Dowd, William Logan, Noriaki Okabe, Rainer Verbizh
- Interior Design: Gianfranco Franchini
--Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners 11:36, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
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