Shigeru Ban, the architect who designed the Pompidou-Metz, is known for his use of renewable materials and willingness to build for the public good; his cardboard and paper shelters provided relief for refugees following the 1996 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Ban’s newest creation is a bit more permanent in nature, and much more fanciful. Pompidou-Metz’s roof has a clean-cut, futuristic profile that gives way to intricate, wood lattice-work support pillars. The sensuously curved elements appear in stark contrast to the boxy, industrial look of the main portion of the museum, and while it’s certainly something new, it doesn’t necessarily make the mark for some.
Rowan Moore of Architectural Record is especially critical:
The theme of the building is the play of the monumental and the spontaneous, the permanent and the transient. However, instead of dancing together, these qualities entangle and trip. If it’s a tent, it’s a lugubrious one; if it’s a museum, it’s a shoddy one.
I must admit that I, too, am left confused by the building’s purpose and overall character based on its haphazard appearance. The roof drew me in and remains a strong point of interest (especially as it’s lit up – it seems so weightless and un-anchored), but the Pompidou-Metz as a whole can’t quite pass muster.
What do you think? Are we being overly critical of a structure that is “great before its time” or does Pompidou-Metz lack cohesiveness and relevancy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.