Centre Pompidou-Metz by Shigeru Ban


Here are some photographs of the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France by architects Shigeru Ban of Japan and Jean de Gastines of France, which will open to the public in May.

The undulating laminated timber roof structure surrounds a 77-metre metal spire.

The frame is covered with a translucent fibreglass and Teflon textile canopy and overhangs the building's walls by up to 20 metres.

The new building will provide 5000 square metres of exhibition space, surrounded by two gardens and a gently sloping terrace.

Due to open on 12 May, it will form a sister branch to the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Here are some more details from the Centre Pompidou-Metz:

The Centre Pompidou-Metz: the first offshoot of a major French cultural institution

The institution and its cultural project

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is the first offshoot of a major French cultural institution - the Centre Pompidou in Paris - in collaboration with regional authorities.

Sibling to the Centre Pompidou, the Centre Pompidou-Metz is entirely independent in its scientific and cultural choices. Its programming looks to the innovation, generosity, accessibility and multi-disciplinarity of the Centre Pompidou while taking its expertise, networks and reputation as its foundation.

The new institution is aided in its pursuit of these values by its unique possibility to draw on the Centre Pompidou’s collection which, at over 65,000 works, is Europe’s largest collection of modern and contemporary art.

The building, by architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, opens up to vast, modular exhibition spaces whose imposing dimensions can accommodate very tall pieces as well as large installations. It also incorporates a studio for live performances, an auditorium, a resource centre, reception areas, a shop/bookshop, a restaurant and a café.

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is intended as a unique experience; a place for visitors to engage with artistic creation in all its forms. It is a living venue with events scheduled throughout the year. It is an exceptional place, thanks to the architectural design of Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, and a generous place as the entire project revolves around its public. Lastly, it is a place of excellence, thanks to a multi-disciplinary programming of innovative, world-class temporary exhibitions.

A multi-disciplinary programme of live shows, films and lectures is proposed alongside the temporary exhibitions, in keeping with the ethos of the Centre Pompidou. It takes in all areas of artistic creation and focuses on the exhibition themes so as to amplify the exhibition experience.

Throughout the year, independent cycles and key events will spotlight a particular theme or artistic field. The programming is intended to surprise the public and introduce visitors to new, enjoyable, shared experiences created by the unexpected combination of different disciplines.

The Centre Pompidou-Metz will also take part in co-productions relating to live performances at the Centre Pompidou and performance companies. It aims to provide the impetus for creations that will link a choreographer to a given artist or author.

Children and teenagers are an important focus for programming at the Centre Pompidou- Metz. The museum will run permanent workshops for introducing children and teenagers to art, while other key events will spotlight the creativity of younger visitors.

Each of the permanent workshops will have an identity that belongs to the world of children and teenagers, who can follow up their experience on the Centre Pompidou-Metz website.

Daring architecture for the Centre Pompidou-Metz

“As visitors make their way across the terrace and through the gardens that connect the Centre Pompidou-Metz with the town centre and the railway station, they will see a bright, luminous building that appears to be both strong yet light, and which seems to invite them to take shelter under its protecting roof. We wanted the architecture to convey a sense of well-being, openness and multi-cultural mix in a building that has a direct, sensory relationship with its surroundings.”

Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, architects of the Centre Pompidou-Metz

In December 2003, following an international competition, Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, were appointed as prime contractors for the Centre Pompidou-Metz. Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines have been working in France as a team since 2000. In 2004 they formed SARL Shigeru Ban Architects Europe, a subsidiary of the Japanese company with headquarters in Paris. The Centre Pompidou-Metz is their fourth project together, after La Halle du Toueur (2004) and l’Institut du Canal de Bourgogne (2005) in Pouilly-en-Auxois, and a social housing project in Mulhouse (2005).

The contracting authority is Greater Metz, in partnership with the City of Metz (representing the main contractor) and the Centre Pompidou (partner of the main contractor).

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is a vast modular structure around a central spire rising 77m above ground, a nod to the Centre Pompidou which opened in 1977. The hexagonal roof structure, which echoes the floor-plan, covers a building with a total surface area of 10,700 sq m, including 5,000 sq m of gallery space. Other areas such as the Forum, the restaurant terrace and the garden provide further opportunities to exhibit works.

The Centre Pompidou-Metz in its surroundings

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is surrounded by two gardens and a terrace. This gently sloping terrace provides a direct pedestrian link to the railway station. Partly landscaped, it has the same dimensions as the Piazza in front of the Centre Pompidou. The terrace was designed by Agence Nicolas Michelin Associés and Paso Doble, who also created the garden to the north of the Centre Pompidou-Metz. The five-acre garden is planted with flowering cherries, and its grassy folds enable rainwater to be collected from the roof and terrace. There are also numerous paths for visitors to make their way around and through the park.

In contrast, the south garden is a private area designed by Agence Nicolas Michelin Associés and Pascal Cribier. It consists of an area of mineral landscaping that can be used as a terrace in summer, and another area densely planted with birch trees.

The wooden roof structure

The main shell of the third gallery at the Centre Pompidou-Metz was completed in December 2008 and a new phase of construction began, with the building of the wooden roof structure by the German firm Holzbau Amann.

It took ten months to prepare and four months to install the wood mesh, which comprises 18 kilometres of glue-laminated timber beams, a technique invented 100 years ago. 95% of the roof timbers are made from Austrian or Swiss spruce; the remainder are beech and larch. Every single beam was CNC-machined to unique proportions. This enabled both the production of multi- directional curves and the perforations for the final assembly (node points, pins and braces).

The entire geometry was modelled using proprietary form-finding software. The architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines chose wood because it is an inexhaustible and easily recycled material. The architecture of the Centre Pompidou-Metz meets environmental quality and sustainable development criteria, and as such is coherent with the urban redevelopment programme being carried out in the city’s Amphithéâtre district. The roof structure was assembled by weaving six beams into a hexagon, an innovative, benchmark concept in the construction world.

The metal frame

In February 2009, Viry, a foundry and metal-working company in Eloyes in the Vosges region, assembled the metal ring and cone-shaped section at the top of the hexagonal tower (ten- branched node). This 37-metre high ring supports the project’s vast, undulating roof. The cone- shaped section is topped by a tripod and a spire that reaches 77 metres above the ground.

The membrane

The 8,000 sq m textile membrane was made in Japan by Taiyo, and installed by its German subsidiary, Taiyo Europe. Covering the whole building, it protects the wooden frame from rain, sun and wind. The membrane is made of fibreglass and Teflon (PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene). The overhanging roof, up to 20 metres in places, protects the walls from the elements. The membrane is translucent, letting through 15% of the light to reveal the hexagonal roof structure at night when the building is lit from the inside.

The building in figures

Total surface area: 10,700 sq m
Gallery space: 5,000 sq m
Studio: 196 seats
Auditorium: 144 seats
5 engineering and design consultancies worked on construction surveys for the structure and roof
Over 50 sub-contractors were involved in the construction of the building
80 builders worked on-site during the main structural phase
200 people worked on finishings and fittings
3 cranes were used, the tallest having a 67m boom
405 bored stakes with diameters of 50cm to 1m and 11m deep
750 tons of scaffolding
12,000 m3 of concrete (foundations and structure)
1,500 tons of reinforcing bars
75,000 working hours (main structure)
970 tons of structural steel (walls and hexagonal tower)
650 tons of roof timber
18 km of beams and 16,000 pieces to build the wooden roof structure
8,000 sq m of PTFE membrane

Posted on Wednesday February 17th 2010 at 6:00 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Milou

    WOAW ! that’s gorgeous. I’d like to visit it…I heard that Metz is a very cute town ;)

  • Faivre_rampant

    Il se trouve dans ma ville metz, la batiment est superbe et beaucoup plus beau que dans les photos présenté ici.

  • jeanpierre

    i’m shocked!i’d never have thought it would look that cool

    it always had this tetraplegic turtle appearance in rendering, but it clearly looks much better —actually, very good— now that it’s built

  • edvard grieg

    Im shocked. Its terrible way of spending tax money.

  • Such a strange building. Its interesting and disgusting looking all at the same time. Something just seems wrong about the scale of this building.

  • very nice indeed..french and Japanese combined forces to create such amazing piece! Love the timber fluid looks with modern touch

  • Alastair

    Paint it green and you have the unrealised Prague library by the late Jan Kaplicky.

  • jp

    can’t wait for the pictures including people, very beautiful…

  • noyz

    I never liked this project, much more should be expected from this great architect. The hexagonal grid shell doesn’t match the boxes of the inside. All that effort making that roof and after all you have to display programme in boxes, senseless.

  • urbatecto

    I thought the city so conspicuous neighbors were opposed to this project but I see citizen power was defeated by the “Guggenheim effect”…

  • WAT

    Real architecture for real functions, real creativity and no more

  • David

    it's too bad the translucensy of the night time view does not happen during the day, seeing the timber grid adds a nice pattern and texture to the skin that is lacking during the day.

    otherwise it looks pretty nice, although i agree with the comment about the boxes…

    can you at least occupy the in-between zone of the box and the skin?

    • Hannah

      The plant room is wedged in under the canopy and above the topmost gallery.

  • portablemicrowave

    edvard grieg Says:

    February 17th, 2010 at 8:49 pm
    Im shocked. Its terrible way of spending tax money.

    bla bla complain complain. such a boring life you must lead. I figure, since the world is ending pretty soon, (it’s inevitable, we can’t change this no matter how ‘Green’ we become) why not just enjoy things? like this for example.

  • Reinhard04

    Sieht aus wie ein Frosch.. die Renderings haben mehr versprochen.. looks like a fat frog.. the renderings had been better.. essspecially the lines on the roof are very irritating..

  • Justin

    the whole building is very awkward. the tower with the flag is unbelievably dorky.

  • John

    a completely insensitive and obtrusive scheme. like sticking a flag in a turd and calling it architecture. very disappointed given ban’s affinity with aalto – it’s probably best to knock it down and start again

  • Panch

    “The architecture of the Centre Pompidou-Metz meets environmental quality and sustainable development criteria, and as such is coherent with the urban redevelopment programme being carried out in the city’s Amphithéâtre district.”

    This project reflects a tremendous lack of aesthetic sensibility… there’s no trace of any effort to make two completely different geometries work together.
    And then justify it with pseudo-environmental intentions?
    How sad…

  • chris

    the roof structure looks to me like a wallpaper of magen dovids!

  • gab xiao

    well, a hybrid architecture in the middle of nowhere needs a flag on top to get noticed. return to Post-Modern banality?…

    it rather speaks about the obtusity of George Pompidou board when it comes to pick good architects – and perhaps Art, in general. Ban Shigeru…

  • wait…where’s the paper tubes?? lol…

  • Rocks & Minerals

    While I think the originality of this design and the technical sophistication it took to build it are absolutely praise worthy, at the end of the day, there is something kinda goofy about it. It seems like something you’d find beside the highway that had been built in the early 60’s.

  • Maxwell

    And it landed in Metz like a giant stingray hovering above, with a long stinger pointed to the sky.


  • rodger

    the tectonics are so incongruous as to be not believable.
    the form making is so oppressively bad that it resembles aspects of the Goetheanum Dornach.
    not their best project.

  • rodger

    ….. and don’t forget to notice the islamic motif in the wooden roof structure.

  • fabregues

    Très déçu par la réalisation d’un architecte que je pensais proche de considérations environnementales…. Soucieux d’utiliser les matériaux locaux!!! Quid de la toile réalisée au Japon????
    S’agissant d’un musée, qu’en est-il des volumes censés mettre en valeur les oeuvres????

  • Jan

    there’s something wrong about the scale, it gives pretty unpleasant feeling. the tower and flag on the top is so incredibely stupid, banal and ugly, I can’t believe how someone like Shigeru Ban could actually do that. I loved the shape of the roof on the renderings, and I even liked the way how it flows over the strict, geometrical core, but in real life, there’s something terribly wrong about it, at least based on the photos.

  • raoul

    woow it’s amazing, expensive but incredible building.

  • Wonderful building and Ban is a genius

  • suzanne_chane

    Honestly, while i applaud the technological genious behind the execution, especially with regards to the timber lamination, the architectural design looks rather unpleasant.

    The geometry between the rectilinear boxes and the free-flow canopy just did not gell. And with the rectangular box protruding out of the canopy opening, it’s very unbecoming to look at. The design is not strange in a good sense, like Zaha’s or Libeskind’s, but rather in an odd manner of crude taste.

  • Jacob

    I think people should be required to post pictures of the work they do before they can bash work on this site.
    If you don’t like the buildings, go to a different website!

    I like this building, its perfectly in keeping with Pompidou’s architectural legacy of exo-skeletal structures, and lord forgive Ban for having a bit of fun with architecture!- it’s often the riskiest thing one can do.

  • miloutte

    very nice inded, milou t’es grille…

  • cacas

    for a ecological architect, shigeru must rethink his choices. too much.


    Materiales y formas imcompatibles. que allí el resultado. ni hablar del emplazamiento y su relacion con el entorno. Lo siento, no me gusta.

  • Andy

    This is example when renderings over-rate the realised building. Like Ito’s library.

  • cuack ..cuack .cuack….

  • dan

    im so unbelievably blown away by the geodesic structures in ban’s research. unbelievably elegant, and masterful. i do agree after calming down and looking at everything else, that the interior design is unfortunate. the usage of boolean splits on the interior geometries as they are cut by the roof is so ugly. i am trying to imagine spaces that do this well, the market interior of santa caterina (though the facade suffers similarly) the interstitial spaces of the seattle public library could have been a good precedent. exciting project!

  • Snowy

    “Jacob Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I think people should be required to post pictures of the work they do before they can bash work on this site.
    If you don’t like the buildings, go to a different website!”

    Should this door swing both ways, before you can justify such an out of context & in my opinion downright ugly mess, we need to see your work too. Why should only people who want to question the quality of design have to prove they are qualified? Should it not be if the challenger has to display his credentials then so should the supporter?
    Or should there be no door at all? We demand of people proof of their abilities before we take their comments seriously, this is madness, we work in a subjective world where as proved here, you may like what Ban has done here & as shown by the discussion above many do not, this is not set by what people have built, nor by what education they may have. This structure is in the public domain & as such is open to praise & derision from the people who’s domain in which it resides.
    THIS IS DEMOCRACY Jacob, If you don’t like it move to a dictatorship.

  • VisiOkrOniK

    You like it or you don’t like it… It doesn’t matter. Just have a look at these photos…


  • Snowy

    Seeing the flicker photos as referenced by “# VisiOkrOniK Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    You like it or you don’t like it… It doesn’t matter. Just have a look at these photos…


    Much better views & photography & yes I see the points made by some of you who love this, I have to say though that the white tensile-ish roof is ugly & bears no relation to the actual building, put it all together & you get an office block in fancy dress. It would be a great headquarters for the circus performers union. Great photography though who ever took these can make a silk purse from a Pompidou’s ear.

  • AvecLaudenum

    I appreciate the flow of the large undulating canopy very much (it’s beautiful, especially when lit from within), but the architecture of the silver boxes does not seem to mesh well with the more-prominent canopy structure.
    They seem to compete against each other rather than support each other, plus silver seems like a bad finish color for the boxes (reminds me of an airport). I feel like the shape of this project would make more sense if the box design had already existed and had been updated with the canopy addition, but as one all-inclusive project, both distinct architectural designs could have come together better, like one monumental design, rather than one idea trying to escape from another.

  • d

    my goodness, this is true ugliness

  • Fizz

    Well, one could say superb photography a fine building does not make. Nice roof – shame about the rest….

  • sameh arar

    please can any body send me the plan and the section for this building

  • we made the floor resins and we are proud of the general enthusiasm for this project

  • sphglass

    i can’t really digest this final result either; my first impulse, like others, is to reject the combination of the undulation of the canopy and the masculine geometry of the insides…
    but, who knows… the parisian centre pompidou did produce bad reactions at the beginning as well, and then made the architectural theory books, so maybe in some years this criticism will turn around to us and bite us in the derriere … : )
    i’d still stand up to my beliefs in that case: it’s wrong from both materials’ and geometrical morality point of view.

  • Oxfordone

    I just visited it yesterday. I was gobsmacked by how terrible it is!! The roof doesnt actually do anything and there is no connection between it and the galleries underneath. The circulation (2 lifts and a fire escape) are simply dreadful, there are no views out because of the roof, you actually have a view over the roof of the galleries which is dead space. The atrium is actually horrible, cheap badly used materials abound. You have got to see the entrance to the cafe to believe it! Ban may have destroyed his career with this building.

  • souadkity

    Just came across this. What a mess! Something wrong with the proportions – you can feel it. Curved roof is dying to divorce his cubic wives.