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Centre Pompidou by David Chipperfield: the new cultural gateway between East and West

A new home for the Parisian museum, part of the West Bund Museum Project, has just been opened in Shanghai.

Centre Pompidou by David Chipperfield: the new cultural gateway between East and West A new home for the Parisian museum, part of the West Bund Museum Project, has just been opened in Shanghai.

The Pompidou Centre has a new home in Shanghai. The majestic structure of about 25,000 square meters is part of the West Bund Museum Project located on the Shanghai Corniche, the northern bank of the Huangpu River, in the district of Xuhui, a former industrial area has long been subject to a major renovation and is expected to become one of the greatest cultural references of the city. British architect David Chipperfield's firm has developed a modern and ambitious project: three fan-shaped volumes arranged around a double-height central hall containing a bookshop and a café. Each volume is 17 meters high and is distributed over two levels. The upper level is characterized by a gallery lit from above, while the lower level houses, depending on its function, a multipurpose room, an art studio or an educational space. This configuration allows the different rooms of the museum to function independently. Large windows at the outer ends offer panoramic views of the park, the river and the entire city. For those who want to admire the Shanghai skyline, there is also a large terrace located at the main entrance. 

"The volumes of the exhibition spaces lit by daylight are on the riverbank like large translucent monoliths, while the open foyer and access to the galleries extend the public sphere as a fluid space within the museum."

Work partner Alexander Schwarz said, while Chipperfield states:

 

"The wilful act of twisting the three main exhibition halls breaks the conventional geometry and creates powerful interstitial public spaces. A wide esplanade opens onto the waterside promenade, offering an outdoor space for use by everyone."

 

The entire 8.5 km long facade is covered with translucent recycled glass, which gives it an iridescent look during the day and faceted at night. The roof is supported by a huge column. In addition, the intermediate pavilion, which houses the museum's entrance and is marked by a gigantic column, is directly connected to Longteng Avenue, as the architect Libin Chen, partner of the Shanghai studio that collaborated on the project, points out: 

"The ground floor was designed as a public street, with a cafeteria and bookshop, opening a link with the urban life of the street and the passage over the Huangpu River. The public facilities all contribute to the idea that modern museums are more than just a destination for viewing art."

 

The agreement between the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the West Bund Group foresees that in the next 5 years the Shanghai museum will host three semi-permanent exhibitions and about ten temporary exhibitions with pieces from the Pompidou collection. Until May 2021, there will be the exhibition The Shape of Things curated by Marcella Lista, a reflection on the themes of memory and time that elapses that includes works by Kandinsky, Picasso and several Chinese artists.