Five facts about the construction of the Pompidou Centre

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Learn five facts about the construction of the Pompidou Centre, one of the world’s most dynamic contemporary art centres.


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In the 19th century the area of Beaubourg was considered “the number one undesirable island of Paris”. The buildings were substandard, evacuations were non-existant and illness was frequent.

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At the beginning of the 20th century this area in the heart of Paris seemed abandoned. From an absolute wasteland it became a parking area for the users of Les Halles.

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During the 1960s President Georges Pompidou launched a major project for the Pompidou Centre as a contemporary arts venue to develop French culture and art. The area of Beaubourg was chosen as the available space and locality was suitable for this important project.

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Six hundred and eighty-one architectural plans were suggested. Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers were picked by the judges as the winners. The model of the project caused surprise and was not unanimously approved. Eventually it became an ultra-modern building, the front of the building overlooking pipeworks and the rooftop overlooking Paris. A very innovative project for the time.

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Pompidou wanted this museum to be a multi-cultural centre where different forms of art could be experienced and found. On the other hand, the library played an important role. It allowed readers and students to work in ideal surroundings in touch with the arts.

Today the Pompidou Centre offers a specialized selection of contemporary art and is one of the most dynamic museums in the world.

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