Friday, July 9, 2010

Of Color-Coded Tubes and Pipes

No, it’s not an oil refinery in the middle of the city as critics used to describe it. The Georges Pompidou Center is an audacious, futuristic modernist structure in steel and glass designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. The idea behind its out of the ordinary “inside out” construction design is to have large, open-spaced interiors by placing what is normally hidden inside the structure of a building on the outside, yet make those ordinarily hidden elements architecturally interesting. The exposed fixtures are color-coded: water pipes are green, electricity lines are yellow, escalators and elevators are red, air ducts are blue, and underground ventilation shafts are white.

The building houses the National Museum of Modern Arts, a center for acoustic and music research, exhibition galleries, cinemas, show and concert halls, and a vast public reference library with facilities for over 2,000 readers. It was named after its initiator, Georges Pompidou, the president of France from 1969 to 1974. Pompidou had a great passion for the modern arts and wanted to build a cultural institution in the heart of Paris completely focused on modern and contemporary arts. 

The building opened its doors to the public more than 30 years ago, on January 31, 1977. However, owing to its success as a must-see Parisian attraction (with daily visitors reaching four times the predicted traffic), the building suffered premature wear and tear. It had to close in October 1997 for 27 months.

Open on Mon, Wed-Sun (11:00-21:00) 
Metro: Rambuteau or Hotel de Ville (Line 11); Les Halles (Line 4)) RER: Chatelet-Les-Halles (Line A) Bus: Lines 38, 21, 29, 47, 58, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 81, 85, 96 Parking: Rue Beaubourg Underpass Phone: 33 (0)144 78 12 33

Sending you happy thoughts...

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