Centre Georges Pompidou (French pronunciation: [sɑ̃tʁ ʒɔʁʒ pɔ̃pidu]; commonly shortened to Centre Pompidou; also known as the Pompidou Centre in English) is a complex in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, Rue Montorgueil and the Marais. It was designed in the style of high-tech architecture by the architectural team of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, along with Gianfranco Franchini.
It houses the Bibliothèque publique d'information, a vast public library, the Musée National d'Art Moderne which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe, and IRCAM, a centre for music and acoustic research. Because of its location, the Centre is known locally as Beaubourg (IPA: [bobuʁ]). It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building, and was officially opened on 31 January 1977 by President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. The Centre Pompidou has had over 150 million visitors since 1977. The sculpture, Horizontal by Alexander Calder, a free-standing mobile that is twenty-five feet high, was placed in 2012 in front of the Centre Pompidou.
The idea for a multicultural complex sprouted from André Malraux, the first minister of cultural affairs, was the western prophet of art and culture as centralized political power. The idea for the Centre Pompidou as a nerve centre of the French art and culture, bringing together in one place the different forms of expression, can be traced back in a way to Malraux’ ideas.In the 1960’s the city planners decided to move the foodmarkets of Les Halles, the historical structures were greatly prized and it was proposed that some of the cultural institutes would be appropriate occupants.
Paris as a city of culture and art needed a boost and voices were raised to move the Musée d’Art Moderne to this more appropriate location. Another demand existed in Paris at the time, that for a decent public library, Paris at the time lacked any large, free, general-purpose library. At first the debate concerned Les Halles, but as the controversy settled, in 1968, President Charles de Gaulle announced the Plateau Beaubourg as the new site for the library.
A year later in 1969, the new president adopted the Beaubourg project and decided it to be the location of both the new library and a center for the contemporary arts. In the process of developing the project, the IRCAM (Institut de recherche et coordination acoustique/musique) was also housed in the complex.By 1992, the Centre de Creation Industrielle was incorporated into the Centre Pompidou.
The Centre was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano; the British architect Richard Rogers; and the Italian architect Gianfranco Franchini, assisted by Ove Arup & Partners.The project was awarded to this team in an architectural design competition, whose results were announced in 1971. Reporting on Rogers' winning the Pritzker Prize in 2007, The New York Times noted that the design of the Centre "turned the architecture World upside down" and that "Mr. Rogers earned a reputation as a high-tech iconoclast with the completion of the 1977 Pompidou Centre.
The Pritzker jury said the Pompidou "revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city."Initially, all of the functional structural elements of the building were color-coded: green pipes are plumbing, blue ducts are for climate control, electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements.However, recent visits suggest that this color coding has partially lapsed, and many of the elements are simply painted white.
The nearby Stravinsky Fountain (also called the Fontaine des automates), on Place Stravinsky, features sixteen whimsical moving and water-spraying sculptures by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle, which represent themes and works by composer Igor Stravinsky. The black-painted mechanical sculptures are by Tinguely, the colored works by de Saint-Phalle. The fountain opened in 1983.
Place Georges Pompidou:
The Place Georges Pompidou in front of the museum is noted for the presence of street performers, such as mimes and jugglers. In the spring, miniature carnivals are installed temporarily into the place in front with a wide variety of attractions: bands, caricature and sketch artists, tables set up for evening dining, and even skateboarding competitions.