Monday, June 6, 2011

J'adore Pompidou et J'adore Perrault???

On the left is an image taken today from the rooftop cafe at the Georges Pompidou Centre (Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, c. 1977, make note of the Eiffel Tower in the background between the structural elements), and on the right is an image of Bibliotheque Nationale Francois Mitterand (Dominique Perrault, c. 1996, no Eiffel Tower present). Each of these buildings serves as a monument to a former president of France, and personally I have a love/hate relationship with each of these buildings. As a historian, I can comment on their importance as monumental structures reflecting the contemporary context in which they were constructed as well as their form. But, as an observer, I am physically drawn into and repulse by each of these buildings. Over time I have developed an appreciation for the Pompidou Centre, and I wonder if the patina of time will change my interpretation of Perrault's building as it did with Rogers and Piano. I shall have to wait and see.

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