Centre Pompidou-Metz

Eighteen kilometres of beams go into the vast undulating roof of the Centre Pompidou-Metz in north-east France, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and Paris-based Jean de Gastines.

The museum building, an offshoot of Paris’ Centre Pompidou, is an unconventional combination of organic high-tech structure with the traditional glass and steel variety. The 8,000sq m roof, inspired by the form of a traditional Chinese straw hat, is made up
of glue-laminated timber beams, each CNC-milled to unique proportions and woven together into a mesh of hexagonal forms. The complex wooden structure is covered by a fibreglass and teflon membrane.

Galleries are housed in three 87m-long, 15m-wide concrete boxes that cantilever out from the sweeping roof, with large picture windows offering views of Metz’s cathedral, station and Seille Park. Large-scale artworks can also be shown in the 1,200sq m grand nave, whose ceiling rises from 5.7m to 18m.

The building resembles a giant marquee and is surrounded by two gardens and a sloping terrace that has the same dimensions as the piazza in front of the Paris museum. The Centre Pompidou-Metz opens in May.

This article was published in the May 2010 issue of Icon magazine (www.iconeye.com). To see it context, click on the PDF below.

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