December 7, 2023

The Center Pompidou, whose bold inside-out architecture and the Museum of Modern Art have made it one of Paris’ main cultural attractions, will be closed for renovations from late 2023 to sometime in 2027, the French culture minister said on Monday.

Opened in 1977, the center is characterized by the way in which the architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers relocated many of the building’s structural and mechanical elements to the outside, with color-coded water pipes, air conditioning ducts and a caterpillar-like escalator winding along the facade.

But it has had physical problems before – it closed in 1997 for renovations that took several years – and has recently shown signs of aging again. French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot told Le Figaro that she had two options: to try to keep the Center Pompidou open during work, which would then take longer, or to close it completely for a long time.

“I chose the second because it should be shorter and a little cheaper,” she said.

Officials now said that many components of the building that were once viewed as a bump of shocking modernity in the stately heart of Paris are at the end of their useful lives – including an outdated heating and cooling system, escalators and elevators that are failing, and asbestos that is being removed must be – Le Figaro reported. The newspaper reported that the renovations could cost 200 million euros, or around $ 243 million.

The center had warned in September that from 2023 it would have to be closed either completely for three years or partially for seven years to allow repairs.

The building was last closed for renovation in 1997 when it closed for a three-year renovation in 1997, which increased the available exhibition space. However, no major work has been done on the building since it opened in 1977, Pompidou Center President Serge Lasvignes told Le Figaro in September.

Although the building is now widespread, it met with shock and criticism during construction and opening. Piano later chuckled that he and Rogers had been “young guys, really young and pretty bad guys” when they won the design competition in 1971. Rogers later recalled that a passerby hit him with an umbrella when he learned that he was one of his designers.

In addition to the art museum, the building houses an extensive public library and a center for music and acoustics research.

A quarter of a century ago, as the center was preparing to shut down this major renovation, the need for repairs sparked unflattering comments about the quality of modern architecture and technology in a city filled with churches, palaces, and museums spanning hundreds of years. French officials at the time said the center had become a victim of its own success and attracted far more visitors than it was intended.

In 2000, shortly after the Center Pompidou reopened after these renovations, Piano only half-jokingly suggested to the New York Times that the center close every 25 years so that its function could be reconsidered. It turned out he wasn’t far away.