Museum Pompidou Paris
The ability to take risks is the sign of any great architect, as bringing something completely new into the world is often an act that is met with revulsion at first before being accepted as transcendent later on.
Risk is certainly the word that I would use in relation to the Museum Pompidou Paris, which is quite unlike any building that I have ever seen before. While I enjoyed the various exhibitions inside immensely, as any visitor would, it was the building itself that really captured my attention and it took me quite a while to really discern whether or not I actually liked it.
The Critical Reception
That’s an opinion that is held pretty widely amongst others as well. Upon the unveiling of the Museum Pompidou Paris, Le Figaro claimed that Paris finally had its own monster akin to Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster. In short, the people who saw the building were very quick to dismiss it as an architectural anomaly. The odd scaffolding that lines the building certainly gives the impression of a project that has not yet been brought to its conclusion and, on first glance, it can seem like a bit of an eyesore when compared to many of the ancient buildings in Paris.
However, the building, which was a collaborative effort between Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfranco Franchini is very deceptive. The National Geographic described its impression of Museum Pompidou Paris as being “Love at second sight” and that is more akin to what I felt when I took the time to take the building in.
Over time, this rather intriguing example of architecture has come to be regarded as a bold risk that eventually ended up paying off, though it certainly still has its critics.
For me, the Museum Pompidou Paris stands as an example of both the challenges that architecture presents and the marvellous creations that come from taking a risk and trying an idea that nobody has thought of before.
I found myself drawn to the enormous ramp at the front of the building, which resembled a giant slide to me. I couldn’t quite shake the desire to climb up to the very top and ride it down, which is perhaps symbolic of the childlike sense of discovery you are supposed to feel upon approaching the museum’s doors. Housed with the building are many wonderful exhibits, each of which offers the opportunity to discover something new in its own way. I felt that, with closer examination, the building itself is representative of this idea and I certainly felt myself drawn toward it, even though my initial reaction had been somewhat subdued.
I also found myself enjoying the many colours on display, which all meshed together to create a bright, almost illuminous spectacle. Yes, this is a building that doesn’t quite sit right with the rest of the buildings in Paris. But that is what makes it so remarkable as well. The goal of an architect is to create something unique that will live in the memory and I can say with confidence that I won’t be forgetting the Museum Pompidou Paris any time soon.