Page B1.1 . 03 December 2003                     
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  • Systematic Centre Pompidou

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    Systematic Centre Pompidou

    by Leonard R. Bachman

    The "high tech" style in architecture is easily identified by its imagery revealed structure, exposed ducts, and machine-precision aesthetics. These modes of exposing hardware and refining the details of connections have made other new exploration necessary. As long as ducts and diagonal bracing were covered over by smooth finish materials or buried in basements and floor-ceiling layers, architects were primarily concerned with their physical requirements for space.

    But when these elements became glamorized parts of occupied rooms and public street elevations, greater care was given to how they worked, what they did, how they were deployed, and what potential for architectural realization lay in their essential characteristics.

    One of the first examples of the high-tech style was the Centre Pompidou, a museum and cultural center in Paris designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. The center is situated on a five-acre (two-hectare) plaza between the Louvre and Notre Dame.

    In 1971, French president Georges Pompidou announced an architectural competition for the center. The design was awarded to the newly formed partnership Piano+Rogers, and Ove Arup & Partners was brought on as the engineer. The competition brief called for an "architectural and urban complex which will mark our century."   >>>

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    This article is excerpted from Integrated Buildings: The Systems Basis of Architecture by Leonard R. Bachman, with permission of the publisher, John Wiley& Sons.



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    Centre Pompidou in Paris, designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano.
    Photo: Leonard R. Bachman

    ArchWeek Image

    East service wall seen from Rue du Renard.
    Photo: Leonard R. Bachman


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