Current research deals with the analysis of Pompidou Centre design through the prism of architect’s work that influenced its construction. The type of design and methodological approach to architecture are the most crucial things in the process of creating new public buildings which are from the start are designed to be unique and beautiful. There is no denying the importance of the fact that Renzo Piano as one of the leading architects in modern architecture influenced much the direction of design work as he worked cooperatively with other famous architects during construction of Pompidou centre. Therefore, current essay does not only provide the outline of Pompidou Centre design but seeks to analyze how Renzo’s approach to architecture influenced the design of this building.
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Pompidou centre had being built during considerably long period between 1971 and 1977 and was aimed to serve several functions. It houses vast public library, French National Museum of Art and the centre of acoustic research and music named IRCAM (Stennott, 2004, p. 457). Apart from Renzo Piano the architectural style of whom will be analyzed later, several other architects such as Richard and Sue Rogers, Peter Rice and Edmund Happold participated in the design of Pompidou’s centre.
Soon after the construction the Pompidou Centre was considered by many specialists as inconvenient for visitors but it was not really true since the centre quickly became one of the main places of people’s attraction.
It partly can be explained by the fact that its design reflects the belief and idea of Renzo Piano that each architectural site should have capacity to transform which allows people to adjust environment for their own needs. This idea was realized by Renzo Piano through different architectural forms and technical innovations that he is so professional in. The individuality of every element present in the building was one of the main ideas developed by Renzo Piano and reflected in Stravinsky’s fountain and Pompidou Place which attract the majority of tourists and ordinary visitors.
The architectural structure of the building which is based on the stylistic approaches of high-tech architecture which are promoted by Piano allows it to be changed in plan, elevation and section depending on the requirement of building’s own life.
Hence, it should be claimed that flexibility is one of the main advantage of Pompidou centre embedded in its structure by stylist vision of Piano and realized in big clip-on elements that are attached to main façade, to services and interior partitions (Murphy, 1996, p.56).
The Pompidou Centre is characterized by the absence of central entrance understood in the traditional manner which is replaced by the ground flow which serves the entrance to every part of the building simultaneously. Thereby the connection of Pompidou Centre with piazza where it stands is maintained which creates an atmosphere of openness to the city life. This innovation also belongs to Renzo Piano though the efforts of Rogers and other architects shouldn’t be underestimated by any means. The connection between Center’s five floors is maintained by elevators and escalators which are attached to vast façade of the building.
The Pompidou Centre has great diagonal stairs which are placed outside the building and allow the spectacular views of Paris. The transparency of façade creates an atmosphere of openness and flexibility which is particularly peculiar to Renzo’s architectural style. This makes Pompidou’s centre flexible, functional and transparent at the same time.
The external envelope of the building was designed to keep in touch with outside flow information, building is itself aligned with the adjacent Paris’s streets and industrial elements perfectly match the street and increase the vision of pedestrians’ proximity.
Renzo Piano’s understanding of modern architectural design which is partly realized in Pompidou’s Centre may be summed up as the emphasis on elegantly expressed structure. Besides Pompidou’s Centre this approach is realized in other elements of his body of work such as IBM traveling pavilion and Kansai International Airport in Osaka built in 1988 (Lewis, 2006, p. 72). This architectural agenda was realized by Piano also during reconstruction of Postdamer Platz in Berlin. Piano’s interest in high-tech designs which are so characteristic of Pompidou’s Centre may be partly explained by the fact that he also designed football stadia, liners, bridges and even automobiles.
The style preached by Piano is characterized by specialists as a ‘rare melding of art, architecture, and engineering in a truly remarkable synthesis.” (Lewis, 2006, p. 75). And this is really true as Piano integrates modern technological innovations with different new and old architectural styles producing catching postmodern effects which stun the visitors by their grandiosity. The Piano’s approach to such architectural styles as classicism, postclassicism is transformational since he often tries to find something new in old currents. Yet it should be mentioned that Piano’s interests in architectural innovations and tricks can not obscure the fact that he is proficient in creating comfortable, flexible designs which are characterized not only by their aesthetic virtues but functionality. This is particularly true of Pompidou’s Centre.
- Lewis, Michael J. “Renzo Piano & the Morgan Library.” New Criterion 2006: 56-86.
- Murphy, Jay. “Franco Techno Art.” Afterimage (1996): 6.
- Stennott, R. Stephen, ed. Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture. Vol. 2. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004.