Centre Georges Pompidou (constructed 1971–1977 and known as the Pompidou Centre in English) is a complex in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil and the Marais. It was designed in the style of high-tech architecture.
It houses the Bibliothèque publique d’information, a vast public library, the Musée National d’Art Moderne which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe, and IRCAM, a centre for music and acoustic research. Because of its location, the Centre is known locally as Beaubourg. It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who decided its creation, and was officially opened on 31 January 1977 by then-French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The Centre Pompidou has had over 150 million visitors since 1977.
The Centre was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, the British architect couple Richard Rogers and Su Rogers, Gianfranco Franchini, the British structural engineer Edmund Happold (who would later found Buro Happold), and Irish structural engineer Peter Rice.
Reporting on Rogers’ winning the Pritzker Prize in 2007, The New York Times noted that the design of the Centre “turned the architecture world upside down” and that “Mr. Rogers earned a reputation as a high-tech iconoclast with the completion of the 1977 Pompidou Centre, with its exposed skeleton of brightly colored tubes for mechanical systems.
The Pritzker jury said the Pompidou “revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city.