The Centre Pompidou-Metz will act as the driving force behind the urban renovation of a 50 hectare area formerly occupied by a freight railway station dating from the German annexation, a fair ground, and a Gallo-Roman amphitheatre seating 25,000.
The huge tensile structure roof, made of translucent fiberglass covered in teflon, is supported by a mesh of hexagonal modules constructed from glue laminated timber beams. The building is topped by a 77 meter high metal spire, a reference to the 1977 opening of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
|We wanted the architecture to convey a sense of well-being, openness and multi-cultural mix that has a direct sensory relationship with its surroundings.|
|/Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines|
The galleries, located in three 80 meter long steel containers organized around the central tower, protrude through the roof. Large scale plate glass windows at the ends overlook the city and landscape beyond.
The Centre also contains an auditorium seating 144, a studio theater seating 196, a bookshop, and a rooftop café.
The Centre is surrounded by two gardens designed by Nicolas Michelin Associés and Paso Doble. The slightly sloping front square, equivalent in size to the Piazza in front of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, forms a direct pedestrian crossing to the train station.
In keeping with the current trend towards “green” architecture, the City of Metz and the Metz Métropole urban community asked that the new building conform to their policy of sustained development, perpetuating a long-standing local tradition of green spaces and pedestrian areas. The vast suspended roof was thus designed to protect the facades from winter storms while providing shade in summer.
The Metz project intends to be living proof of an ambitious example of decentralization which will strengthen regional roles.
The fact of setting up such an institution in Metz, close to Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, will also enhance the institution’s artistic influence within Europe.
Alongside the high-speed TGV project linking Paris to Eastern Europe, proximity to the borders with other countries makes Metz an ideal pole of attraction for visitors from Eastern and Northern Europe.
The opening exhibition of the Centre Pompidou-Metz examines the notion of the masterpiece, past, present and future, through an exceptional selection of almost eight hundred works of art.
What is a masterpiece? Is this notion still relevant today? Who decides what is a masterpiece? Once a masterpiece, always a masterpiece?
Thanks to the extraordinary richness and diversity of the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne (which is the source of the majority of the artwork displayed in this exhibition), some of the greatest figures of 20th century art are on display in Metz.
The exhibition will be on view through October 25, 2010