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Centre Pompidou. Photo: Michel Denancé/Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

Centre Pompidou to Close for Four Years in 2023

The Centre Pompidou in Paris, which houses Europe’s largest collection of contemporary art, is to close for renovations in 2023, remaining shuttered until 2027, French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot announced today. The news is not wholly unexpected, as government officials had said back in September that the iconic building, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and opened in 1977, was in severe need of restoration, which is currently projected to cost roughly $243 million.

“There were two options,” Bachelot told Italian newspaper Le Figaro of the decision to close the Pompidou for four years. “One involved renovating the center while keeping it open, the other was closing it completely.” Bachelot said that the latter option was ultimately more appealing because “it should be shorter and a little bit less expensive.” 

“We don’t have a choice, the building is suffering,” lamented Serge Lasvignes, the museum’s president. Among the intended fixes are the removal of asbestos from its windows and façade, and the reworking of the iconic exposed water pipes, electrical and air-conditioning conduits, and elevators, all in bright primary colors, that grace the building’s exterior.

The museum is home to the Musée National d’Art Moderne and additionally houses an enormous public library and the IRCAM center for music research. Like its counterparts across France, the Pompidou was forced by the Covid-19 pandemic to close to the public in March. Reopening in June in limited capacity, it shut its doors again in October as the virus surged in the city, and has since remained dark. Now it must find temporary venues for its programming, as well as roughly 65,000 square feet of space in order to host the 1.4 million researchers and students who use its facilities annually. During its last full year of operation, in 2019, the Pompidou welcomed a total 3.2 million visitors.

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