The architecture of Centre Pompidou (or Beaubourg, as it’s often called locally) is more or less appreciated. You may have understood that I’m rather fond of old buildings, but I like very much also this one. Of course you should also go inside and visit the Modern Art Museum with Europe’s biggest collection of modern art – some 60.000 works from the 20th and 21st centuries. There is also an important library, a cinema, bookshops, a restaurant... and a lot of other more or less hidden activities. The Centre receives some 6-7 million visitors per year, more or less on the same level as the Eiffel Tower.
The Centre opened in 1977 and was designed by Renzo Piano, Richard and Sue Rogers, Edmund Happold and Peter Rice. What is particular is of course that the supporting structure, escalators etc. are all outside, making the interior totally free.
If you go to the backside, where it’s more visible, you get a more clear impression of a small particularity – the different colours used for different ducts; blue for air, green for fluids, yellow for electricity cables and red for movement and flow. A special issue with the modern buildings is of course the need to keep them fresh-looking. Already after 20 years, the Centre had to be closed for about two years (1997-99) for renovating.