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People visit Paris for the romance, the historical monuments, the luxury art, superb gastronomic experiences and delicious wine. We are however directing our gaze towards a building of glass and steel. A unique building which is an icon of 20th century architecture: the Centre Pompidou.

The Centre Pompidou: an icon of 20th century architecture

Eva Ledecká
30.Jan 2017
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2 minutes

This is a modern cultural centre dating back to 1972 - 1977 which was built subject to request by the French president Georges Pompidou.

The view Centre Pompidou
Glass tube for pedestrians
Facade of Centre Pompidou

At that time, over 700 architects from all over the world fought for victory with their architectural designs. In the end, the tender was won by an architectural duo: Renzo Piano from Italy and Richard Rogers from Great Britain. Jan Kaplický also participated in the project.

This building is a representative of so-called “hi-tech architecture”, which stands out due to the fact that all of the infrastructure runs outside the building and is not covered up in any way. Multi-coloured pipes stand out on the walls of the building at first glance. Blue indicates air-conditioning, green means water pipes, yellow means electrical mains and red is for moving people around.

Vila na prodej - Klánovice - 465m
Vila na prodej - Klánovice - 465m, Praha 9

An icon of 20th century architecture

As is often the case with controversial buildings, Centre Pompidou also has its admirers and opponents.

However, nothing changes the fact that the luxurious architecture of Centre Pompidou is able to boast several technical properties which have made the building globally unique. The centre represents the next generation of museums and cultural centres. The whole area of 7,500 m² is available for exhibitions of luxury works of art and can be divided up and reorganised at will, something which ensures its maximum flexibility.

15,000 tonnes of steel and 11,000 m² of glass were used in the building. Due to the fact that the whole of the load-bearing structure together with circulation have been externalised, this even including the main stairway built into a glass tube, the Centre Pompidou is recognised as a truly pioneering building of its time. It carries with it the heritage of the large iron buildings which could be seen here at the end of the industrial era. This luxury building is futuristic in many respects and its innovative nature, verging on the revolutionary, has made the Centre Pompidou one of the most representative buildings of the 20th century.

Basic facts about the building

  • The building has a total of 10 floors with a total area of 7,500 m².

  • It reaches up to a height of 42 metres, is 166 metres long and 60 metres wide.

  • 12,210 m² of space is designated for exhibiting collections of modern national art - Musée National d’Art Moderne.

  • 5,900 m² is designated for temporary exhibitions.

  • The building houses 2 luxury cinemas with 315 and 144 seats.

  • Space is available here for various performances with 384 seats and an auditorium for 158 seats.

  • You will find here a scientific library, reading room and luxury café.

  • The greatest attraction is the 5th floor, where you will find works by famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Vasil Kandinsky, Joan Miró and Jackson Pollock.

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Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou 75004 Paris France
+33 (0)1 44 78 12 33