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The Pompidou Centre, Paris


Centre Georges Pompidou (constructed 1971–1977 and known as the Pompidou Centre in English) is a building in the Beaubourg area of the IVe arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles and the Marais. It houses the Bibliothèque publique d'information, a vast public library, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne. Because of its location, the Centre is known locally as Beaubourg. It is named after Georges Pompidou, who was president of France from 1969 to 1974, and was opened on January 31, 1977. Under the guidance of its first director, Pontus Hultén, it quickly became a noted attraction in Paris.

Designed by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Sue Rogers, Edmund Happold and Peter Rice, the building structure is very distinctive: it has been described by critics as "an oil refinery in the centre of the city." In the beginning, it was highly controversial; however, its unique appearance has become more accepted. The coloured external piping is the special feature of the building. Air conditioning ducts are green; water pipes are blue; and electricity lines are yellow. Escalators and elevators are red. White ducts are ventilation shafts for the underground areas. Even the steel beams that make up the Pompidou Centre's framework are on the outside.

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