img.0The Pompidou Centre in Paris. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Designed by the then-unknown duo of Renzo Piano & Richard Rogers, Centre Pompidou first opened was in 1977. Its 40th anniversary in 2017 is to be celebrated with preparations for a 2-years facelift that will cost €100 million at least. Despite architectural traditionalist hoping the Pompidou won’t be more sober and conventional. In fact, the renovation project will preserve that unique aesthetic, restoring the landmark facade.
The massive renovation scheduled for 2018-2020 includes replacing the “catterpillar”, the famous escalators that snake up the front of the building. Catterpillar sostitution will cost €20 million.
It’s not the first time of renovation for Pompidour, between 1998 and 2000 the structure was closed for a €100 million overhaul. Anyway this time around, museum officials also hope to avoid having to close during the work.
“It will be a sort of construction game, but our aim is to stay open,” said Serge Lasvignes, president of the Pompidou Centre. “That is the objective.”
Pompidou structure suffered from its continual exposure to the elements and “It means that the building needs a lot of renovation,” he said. “But nothing will change outside, even though we discovered that some structures, like the large funnels that were once part of the air system, are now just decorative.”
The Pompidou Centre’s anniversary will be marked by a series of exhibitions, theatre, film and dance productions across France, including Henri Matisse in Lyon, Kandinsky in Grenoble and Joan Miró in Libourne
While the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay reported losses last year, largely due to a drop in foreign visitors following terrorism fears, the number of people visiting the Pompidou Centre rose by 9% to 3.33 million (still well below its 1984 high of 8.41 million).
Lasvignes says this was partly due to several popular exhibitions – Paul Klee, René Magritte and the Beat Generation among them – and because the Pompidou Centre was “multi-disciplined”; it is home not just to the art museum, but also a library and a music and art research centre, making it less dependent on tourists. “After the terrorist attacks, the French made the decision not to sit at home, but to go out and enjoy the culture on offer. This is why our exhibitions were such a success. We are proud of this.”
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