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IDEAS / architecture

The Pompidou Centre. Inside Out

21 July 2014

words:  Natalie Donat-Cattin

photos:  Jian Yong Khoo

What is the best house for an art museum if not art itself? With an open heart and bones of steel, the Pompidou Centre towers naked above the French roofs of the 4th arrondissement. Among them it stands out, an alien surrounded by mortals.

A myriad of pipes wraps the back of the building: not to protect it but to make it work. The engine of the Pompidou Centre larks in the blue, green, red, yellow, grey and white tubes, each of which carries a different service: fool-proof and ideal for any problem. At least plumbers and electricians immediately know where to put their hands!

In this transgressive museum, all the old conventions collapse, leaving everything inside-out and giving carte blanche to the men. This is a building for the community. A mixture between the ancient polis and the Bauhaus, where every truth is tolerated because democracy reigns.

It is a structure that fully belongs to our century even if it was constructed in the past one. It is innovation, rebellion, desire to go beyond and flip the charts. It represents all the expectations, all the great ideals, all the hopes for the new millennium. We cannot yet tell if all these good intentions have become true, since we are still sailing in this century, but certainly the Pompidou now stands in front of us.

Many say that this is love at second sight. For me, no doubt it was love at first sight.

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FURTHER READING / essays, ideas, photography and more!

The Pompidou Centre. Inside Out

What is the best house for an art museum if not art itself? With an open heart and bones of steel, the Pompidou Centre towers naked above the French roofs of the 4th arrondissement. Among them it stands out, an alien surrounded by mortals. A myriad of pipes wraps the back of the building: not to protect it but to make it work.

Water Temple. A Found Ruin

Water temple, designed by Tadao Ando, hides in the inland of Awaji Island. Despite its close proximity to the sea (only a 15 min walk) the building turns its back to the ocean to embrace the hillside. The road to reach it, is deserted and steep: a series of greenhouses and fields are the only panorama’s highlights.

Grace Farms. SANAA

The Grace Farms building, designed by SANAA nestles itself nicely into its context, offering various programmes for the community- all playfully placed under a long sinous roof.

Transcending Monumentality. Of Boullée And Kahn

Architecture is the embodiment of the arts and sciences, a complex combination which results in an ambiguous whole. What once was just a means of shelter, has evolved into a means of which to communicate and express the ever evolving necessities of contemporary society. The demands of the people coupled with the zeitgeist of the period, more often than not, precipitate a prevailing architectural style, one with which the architects of the period rally to. Two centuries apart, Étienne-Louis Boullée and Louis Kahn, through their tireless re-examination of the discipline, have established profound ideologies on the nature of architecture, which remarkably allude to common principles.

The British Museum. Never The Same

Walk up the steps, cross the pronaos, rush through the first room, enter the main courtyard and look up: you will be rendered speechless. The modern roof designed by Fosters and Partners hovers above you. 3312 glazing panels frame 3312 triangular slices of sky. This is the heart of the British Museum.

architasters / project by Natalie Donat-Cattin and Jian Yong Khoo. It is a platform for speculation and discussion, functioning as a complementary repository for their design work.