1977: Centre Georges Pompidou
Innovation: Exposing the Infrastructure on the Building’s Exterior
Building: Centre Georges Pompidou
Location: Paris, France
By: Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Gianfranco Franchini (Architects)
Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners
In 1971 Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfranco Franchini, three unknown architects, won the design competition for the new Paris library and museum of contemporary art. In 1977 construction was completed. The assembly of the exterior steel supports took only six months. The design of the Centre Georges Pompidou reversed everything that had been previously done in architecture, removing the internal systems and structural supports out of the interior of the building and exposing them on the outside of the building . The escalators, elevators, HVAC systems, water pipes, and structural supports make up the brightly painted exterior of the building. Each steel component has been painted a color that indicates its purpose: red for transportation, blue for air, green for water, yellow for electricity, gray for corridors, and white for the structural components of the building . By removing the infrastructure for the interior this design allowed for huge open floor spaces unimpeded by columns or stairwells. The Centre Georges Pompidou made the infrastructure a centerpiece of the building rather than hiding it.