The Pompidou Center is one unbelievable creation in architecture that thrashed down normal guidelines and aesthetic expectations. Designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, this has been one of the controversial buildings of all time, with its exposed elements and unmasked envelope. Here go certain interesting or rather amusing facts about the Pompidou center that might have missed out on your eyes and ears!
1. THE TALE BEHIND ITS LOCATION
It is placed equidistant from two architectural landmarks of Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum. Placed right in the center of the city, this structure replaced the market of ‘Les Halles’ well-known for its fresh food trade in the 1960s. In spite of choosing a site for the new project, the decision to move a busy market proved to be skeptical and didn’t receive applause from the citizens. As far as the cultural value of the city, the Pompidou center did the magic of transforming a hectic shaggy open trade space addressed as an architectural disaster into an artistic creation. The fate of one of the undesirable isolated islands of the region changed for good, emphasizing what beautiful architecture can do!
2. THE COMPETITION TO DESIGN THE BUILDING
It didn’t come simply to design this masterpiece. The opportunity was put open to the talents in the city as a competition which was shortlisted and chosen by an efficient panel including the then President of the country. Out of 681 entries from around 50 countries, the team of Piano and Rogers got the deal by creating a unique plan utilizing just half of the site. The final jury presentation is quite funny when both the winners went up the stage with ‘hippie-outlooks’ and Mickey mouse-printed trousers. This was considered outrageous yet confident to stand weird in front of well-dressed panel members in suits and boots. Though these two architects take pride in the creation, there is a third pillar to the design, an Italian architect named Gianfranco Franchini.
3. BEHIND THE INTERESTING FAÇADE
The unpolished structural façade has been a controversial topic since the day it was built to date. Even today, the French citizens frown at the aesthetic value of the structure collating it with a refinery or a mega-boiler. The phrase ‘Love at second sight’ by National Geographic just suits it so well. Well, with all pipes, wires, steel rods, and escalators exposed but every color out there isn’t incidental! Green for plumbing ducts, blue for climate controls, yellow for electrical elements, and red for the transportation units from escalators to fire escapes, every color represents a function.
4. ABLE, BUT NOT CAPABLE
Another fact that you might not know is the low display capacity of the museum despite the name and fame it beholds. Though the center boasts of having more than 50,000 artworks and artifacts, the visitors can only see around 600 at a time, while others find their space in the storage spaces and attics, waiting to be recruited every year and hung on the walls.
5. THE STORY BEHIND ITS NAMING
Wondered how the name ‘Pompidou’ was opted? The whole idea of bringing a cultural museum and library in the city center was owned by the French president George Pompidou. “I passionately want Paris to have a cultural center which will be both a museum and a creative center “was what began all the revolution. After announcing the start of the building construction in 1969, the project was commissioned by him until his death. Though he couldn’t witness the grand opening of the building, it was named after this legend.
6. THE TERRACE WITH VIEWS AND THE WAY TO HEAVEN
The transparent-enveloped escalator that leads to the terrace of the building covers almost the whole of the building diagonally. The escalator is made out of Plexiglass and steel nails and ribs, and is a referral to the ladder to heaven. The terrace gives you the most beautiful view of the layers of Paris, which was intended by the architects as the building was meant to be a movement and an urban toy wielding human minds and philosophies rather than being a dusty museum.
7. NOT JUST ONE, MORE OUT THERE
Did you know that the one in France with an exposed multicolor façade is not the only Pompidou Center that goes by that name? Well, there are other branches like the ones in Metz, Malaga, Brussels, and Asia. Though these buildings weren’t highlighted and criticized by the public, nobody even knows they exist. Have a look through the other branches of the famous Pompidou Center.
8. NOT JUST THE BUILDING, MUCH MORE IN THE PREMISES
We all know about the main building, but it shadows many other creations around and beside it. One of them is the mobile artifact sculpted by Alexander Calder called the ‘Horizontal’ inaugurated in 2012. Another masterpiece is the Stravinsky Fountain featuring abstract sculptures that move and spray water based on the works of famous composer Igor Stravinsky. They are a combination of black figures done by Jean Tinguely and colorful sculptures carved by Niki de Saint-Phalle. The plaza in front of the building has also received fame with dozens of artists performing mimicry, violin, juggling, and occasional carnivals.
9. FRIENDS THAT STAY FROM FAR AND FOR LONG
With a bundle of art and talent, the Center Pompidou has got friends from quite far, from the United States of America. With the vision to collect and gift or sell off the works of talented artists and craftsmen all across the world, this organization has become a strong backbone of the exhibitions held in the center.
10. BEING A MOVIE SHOOTING SPOT
Any place becomes special and noted once you find it in a movie or a documentary, and it stays in your mind forever. The Pompidou Center was one of the locations depicting a space station in the James Bond movie “Moonraker” featuring Michael Lonsdale.