Centre Pompidou, a major cultural attraction in Paris, will close for 5 years starting in 2025 for a massive renovation.
Located in the center of the city, Pompidou – officially Centre national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidou – is a fiercely modern structure that opened 50 years ago. In 2022, Pompidou drew more than 3 million visitors.
The exterior is a swirling array of pipes and conduits that makes it look like the building was turned inside-out. Inside, Pompidou has art galleries, a library, and a restaurant.
Since its opening, the center has become an influential voice in contemporary art. For example, Pompidou recently opened the museum’s first show dedicated to works linked to the emerging NFT technology.
The renovations will address such issues as corrosion and other problems related to general decay. But Pompidou’s directors are also undertaking the project because they also have ambitious expansion plans for its future.
Pompidou will add 20,000 square meters of space underground by expanding into a former bus garage. The new spaces will include movie theaters as well as spaces for multidisciplinary exhibitions and contemporary creations.
On the first floor, there will be a “new generation center” and a large restaurant, according to The Art Newspaper.
While Pompidou will keep such elements as its Public Information Library and its Musée national d’art moderne, they will also be renovated and updated. In addition, there will be a new terrace opened on the 7th floor that will give the public views of western Paris.
In a press conference and press release explaining the motivation for the project, center officials said the renovations and expansion aimed to reinforce the central spirit of Pompidou while also improving the experience for visitors.
“The crossing of disciplinary borders has founded the artistic singularity and the DNA of the Center since its creation,” according to a press release. “This multidisciplinarity allows it to be in continuous contact with the challenges of society. The Center thus echoes and accompanies current creation…Putting each visitor at the center of the project is carrying on tradition…Betting on sincere hospitality means not saturating the exhibition spaces to increase the quality of the presentation of the works.”
The closing will begin in late 2024 and be completed in 2025. Pompidou was originally scheduled to close last year, but plans were changed so that it would remain open during the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. The renovation work will now start in 2026, according to RFI.
The French government has allocated €262 million to the project, and Pompidou’s directors are trying to raise an additional €160 million.
Because of the timing of the project, the center will not be open to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2027. Still, many of its projects and exhibits will be relocated to other sites and available for public viewing.
For instance, French Cultural Minister Rima Abdul Malak recently announced that Paris’ Grand Palais will become a temporary home to some Pompidou exhibits and projects, according to The Art Newspaper. Pompidou has developed a similar partnership with the Louvre to host some works.