Beaubourg

Beaubourg (bōbŏrˈ) [key], popular name for the Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture zhôrzh pôNpēdōˈ, museum in Paris, France; the popular name is derived from the district in which it is located. Proposed by French president Georges Pompidou in 1969, the center was designed by architects Renzo Piano of Italy and Richard Rogers of England along with the Danish engineering firm of Ove Arup and was opened in 1977. Its industrial style, with bold architectural elements such as its steel superstructure, clear plastic escalator tunnels, brightly colored elevators, and color-coded utility pipes and ducts exposed on the outside of the building, generated furious controversy during its construction and for some years thereafter. Like the Eiffel Tower, which precipitated a critical storm in its own time, the Beaubourg has become a tourist attraction and a popular Parisian landmark. Now commanding much of the authority of a 20th-century Louvre, the six-story building houses a museum of modern and contemporary art, a public library, a cinema and performance halls, and music and industrial design centers. By the early 1990s rust and peeling paint on the building's exterior made restoration necessary. Begun in 1997 and completed in 1999 (the museum reopened in 2000), the renovation included increased space, an updated library, basement theaters, a restaurant, and other expanded facilities. In 2010 the Beaubourg opened its first regional museum, in Metz. The Pompidou-Metz features art from the Paris collection, showcased in a futuristic structure designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.

See N. Silver, The Making of Beaubourg (1994).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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