Centre Pompidou

The site for the Centre Pompidou is located in the centre of Paris, within one kilometre of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum, on the edge of a densely populated medieval quarter Les Halles, the famous inner city market nearby, later to be demolished. To the east, the Marais was rundown and in need of regeneration. In the midst of this, the Centre Pompidou, was planned as a key connection in the renewal of the historic heart of the capital. In 1970, an international competition was announced for the design of an arts centre, which would include a library, modern art museum, a centre for industrial design, and a music research centre.

The competition, which attracted 681 entries, was won by the Piano + Rogers team, who described it as ‘a live centre for information, entertainment and culture’. The building would be a place for all people, the young and the old, the poor and the rich, all creeds and nationalities – a cross between New York’s Times Square and London’s British Museum.  The design described a building that would be a highly serviced flexible container and a dynamic communications machine. The competition response broadened the interpretation of the brief, while keeping intact the specific needs of the institution. In doing so, the architects envisioned a centre that would not only cater to the specialist, but also to tourists and locals, giving them a truly dynamic meeting place where activities would overlap in flexible, well-serviced spaces. The Centre Pompidou was to be ‘a people’s centre, a university of the street, reflecting the constantly changing needs of the users’.

International Union of Architects August Perret Prize for most outstanding international work 1975 - 1978
Project data
Location Paris, France
Type Culture & Leisure
Dates 1971 - 1977
Gross Internal Area 100,000m²
Number of Floors 6
Construction Cost £58,800,000
Client Ministére des Affaires Culturelles /
  Ministére de l'Education Nationale
The Architect Piano + Rogers
Partners in Charge: Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers
Competition: Sally Appleby, Peter Flack, Gianfranco Franchini, Marco Goldschmied, Jan Kaplicky, Su Rogers, John Young
Ken Allinson, William Carmen, Chris Dawson, Tony Dugdale, Alphons Oberhofer, Judith Raymond, Martin Richardson, Philippe Robert
Francoise Gouinguenet, Claudette Spielmann, Colette Valensi
Environment and Piazza Cuno Brullmann
Scenographic Spaces  
Facade Engineer Eric Holt with Michael Davies, Jan Sircus
Furniture Systems John Young with Francois Barat, Helen Diebold, Jacques Fendard, Jean Huc, Helga Schlegel
Graphic Design VDA Group
Interior Design Gianfranco Franchini
Internal and External Systems / Audio Visual Alan Stanton with Michael Dowd, William Logan, Noriaki Okabe, Rainer Verbizh
Main Contractor Grands Travaux de Marseilles
Mechanical Engineer: Walter Zbinden with Hans-Peter Bysaeth, Johanna Lohse, Peter Merz, Philippe Dupont
Mechanical Services and Superstructure Laurie Abbott with Shunji Ishida, Hiroshi Naruse, Hiroyuki Takahashi
Quantity Surveyor Ove Arup & Partners
Services Engineer Ove Arup & Partners
Site Management Bernard Plattner
Structural Engineer Ove Arup & Partners