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Editorial, Pompidou Centre, Paris, France

Wednesday 21 Nov 2007

Model of good design

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Spirit of Pompidou lives on in later designs says Rogers in exclusive interview 

This week saw the launch of a huge retrospective exhibition of Richard Rogers’s work at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the completion of the building. The commission to design the Pompidou in the early 1970’s in the centre of historic Paris was one of the bravest ever in recent times, particularly as it nestled in amongst classic Parisian architecture, mostly from the 17th or 18th centuries.
This building established Rogers's early trademark of exposed services (water, heating ducts, and stairs) on the exterior, leaving the internal spaces uncluttered. The building is now a much admired Parisien landmark, but at the time critics were mixed, some dubbing the "inside-out" style "Bowellism". The Centre Pompidou, highly controversial at the time went on to become the huge success it is now must rate as one of the most defining moments for contemporary architecture in the 20th century.
At the time, the designers, Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Sue Rogers were virtually out of work and had little experience in their portfolio to reinforce their radical proposal. The competition judges, in a massive leap of faith selected the scheme from 700 entries.
The exhibition at the Pompidou Centre, arranged and curated by Abe Rogers, presents a detailed survey of the work of Richard Rogers and his partners over the last 40 years. From Lloyd's of London to Madrid’s Barajas Airport; from the Zip-Up House of 1968 to the proposals for Shanghai's Lu Jia Zui's urban development, the exhibition presents a wide range of projects - from past to present - through models, drawings, photographs, films and specially-written text. Occupying 1,150 sq m of gallery space it presents a detailed overview of Rogers' extensive career.
The exhibition runs until 3 March 2008 and will then move to the Design Museum, London, in the Spring of 2008.

Listen to WAN’s exclusive interview with Richard Rogers now.

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