The Center Pompidou will close for work for at least three years from the end of 2023. Inaugurated in 1977, the building designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers is in need of serious renovation. Invited to franceinfo on Monday January 25, Serge Lasvignes, president of the Center Pompidou, spoke of “necessary modernization works”, and announced that “120,000 works” of the Center Pompidou would be visible “in a myriad of exhibitions throughout the territory”, while the museum is closing.
franceinfo: Is this work really essential?
Serge Lasvignes: This work is necessary, it cannot be avoided. The Pompidou Center, the buildings of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, it is said to be our first masterpiece in our collection. It’s a building, an architecture that has lost absolutely nothing, that has never gone out of style. But technically, it has worn itself out when it comes to functions, like air conditioning, like fire prevention, accessibility for the disabled. There is asbestos, because in the 1970s there was a lot of asbestos, and we weren’t very concerned about saving energy. So you have to do all of that. Modern buildings from the 1970s were arguably more fragile than the Louvre’s freestone. That said, we now have the ability to combine this architecture with much more resistant technical functions. In 2027, we will have a Center Pompidou with the most contemporary standards and I believe that this is very important because you know, in the world of museums, the Center Pompidou must remain perfectly modern, perfectly current, be it in its appearance or in the proposals we make. But this reopening will be an opportunity for us to also present a new cultural project, a new way of organizing the visit, new relationships with visitors, another way of using digital technology, all of this together.
Couldn’t you renovate level by level to avoid closing the entire building?
This was what we wanted to do initially. But if we try to do this work without closing completely, that is to say by actually working half-level, that means that this work will last for seven years. Seven years of putting up with the work, the noise, the smells and the fumes. After seven years, the tourist image would have deteriorated. What has also been demonstrated is that if we wanted to proceed with total asbestos removal and we had to close. And then finally, we also had a study of a socio-economic evaluation carried out which showed that from the point of view of the collective good, including economic efficiency for the environment, for Paris, it was more profitable. to close once and to open with a brand new center, very attractive, than to endure these degraded operating times on the line.
During this time, will we be able to continue to see the collections?
We have the ambitious plan to use our collection of 120,000 works to organize a myriad of exhibitions across the country, in all regions, in partnership with regional museums and local communities. This whole collection will be mobilized to be present everywhere in France for three years. What means that we will hear about the Center Pompidou, and then we will also see that one of our main concerns is to be, as one of the prime ministers said when the center was created, a real central to decentralization. After that, will we have a drop-off point in Paris? He will necessarily need some for the library, he has to continue his work, so we will find premises for him somewhere in the center of Paris. For the Center, we will see to what extent it is necessary to have a Parisian address.