The Pompidou Center in Paris' 4th arrondissement is one of the best museums in one of the craziest buildings ever built.
The Centre Georges Pompidou houses the National Museum of Modern Art, the largest modern art museum in Europe. It was designed by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and others after they won the museum’s architectural design competition. The building’s unique look comes from the fact that it was built inside out. The structural support and flow systems are all on the outside of the building. The exposed back of the museum shows all of the building’s innerworkings, presented in color coded tubes (blue is air, green is fluid, yellow is electricity, and red is movement). The front of the building is nearly all glass, made so that those in the facing plaza could look in, and those inside, could look out. Even the escalators are on the outside of the building, enclosed in a clear tube.
The space itself has become a meeting place. Despite its lack of seating, the large open plaza is always filled with people, and the streets surrounding the building are filled with restaurants and shops. On one side, there is a complete reproduction of the sculptor Brancusi’s studio.
Inside the museum, there are plenty to do and see. It has an extensive collection of modern art, a public reference library, cafe, a gift shop, bookstore, music research center, and theaters. There’s almost too much to see in one visit. More than a museum, the Pompidou is a cultural center very much in keeping with Georges Pompidou’s original vision of a “center which would at once be a museum and center of creation.”
Centre Georges Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris