The famous Centre Pompidou, a sprawling modernist complex in central Paris that houses one of the world’s leading art museums, is set to close from 2023 to 2026 for maintenance work, the French government has announced.
The center has been a provocative presence in the city since it opened in 1977, becoming instantly renowned for Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers’ bold, industrial aesthetic that collides strikingly with the traditional buildings that surround it.
It houses the National Museum of Modern Art, which boasts one of the world’s largest collections of modern art and is among the most-visited galleries in the world.
But despite its conspicuously modern design, the building has showed signs of aging in the past and is now set to be shuttered in order for full maintenance works to take place.
“These works are a guarantee for the future of the Centre Pompidou,” the venue’s president Serge Lasvignes said in a statement. “It is about preserving our first masterpiece — the building — which hasn’t had any significant renovation since 1977.”
The center will close at the end of 2023 and officials plan for works to conclude by the end of 2026, in time for its 50th anniversary the following year, the French Culture Ministry said.
The building’s inverted design was a startling architectural arrival when it was unveiled in the 1970s, with architects Piano and Rogers placing brightly colored pipes and ducts on the building’s facade. The center’s “inside out” visage remains one of the world’s most prominent examples of high-tech architecture.
It was renovated in 1997 but the new works will be the most extensive to date. “These works are indispensable so that this global icon of modernity and contemporary architecture, that attracts millions of visitors every year, may remain,” Lasvignes said.
Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot told the Figaro newspaper that she considered two options regarding the Pompidou’s future. “One involved renovating the center while keeping it open, the other was closing it completely,” she said. “I chose the second because it should be shorter and a little bit less expensive.”
The center, named after French President Georges Pompidou who gave it the green light, marked an expansion into China in 2019 with a display at a new waterfront museum in Shanghai.