05 July 2009

Day 2 in Paris

Also my last day on mainland Europe for this trip. I have now been escaping my guide duty towards my family for the the last 3/4 days and I knew that I had to spent at least half of today showing them around the famous sites in Paris. So in the morning I headed out early to see two buildings that you can't not go when visiting this great city. Not because I had not seen them before, in fact I've been to them more than once and I'm also quiet familiar with them but I just had to see them again!

The first of these is also apparently Paris' most visited attraction - Centre Georges Pompidou.
This centre houses the Bibliothèque publique d'information, a public library, the Musée National d'Art Moderne, and IRCAM, a centre for music and acoustic research.The building was designed by the architects Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Sue Rogers and engineers Peter Rice and Edmund Happold after they won a huge international competition for its design.
This project propelled both Piano and Rodgers to the elite world of starchitects and introduced the high-tech style with its exposed skeleton of brightly colored tubes for mechanical systems to a global audience.
There is little doubt that the Pompidou 'revolutionized museums,' in fact it prompted a critic to declare that the design of the Centre "turned the architecture world upside down".
It's amazing how a building that seems to have no relation to the architecture of its surroundings is still soo contextual; the proportion and section of the plaza in front of it is pure genius!

And the other must see building is probably the most impressive work by local architect Jean Nouvel.
L'Institut du Monde Arabe is a museum of sorts whose purpose is to spread knowledge and research the Arab World’s language, and its cultural and spiritual values to the West.
The design of the building clearly reflects this ambition. Jean Nouvel successfully plays with symbolic items like the traditional wooden 'moucharabiehs' screens used in most Arab cultures.
But instead of using them literally he creates a contemporary mechanized version of it in metal with polygons of varying shapes and sizes creating a geometric effect that reminds of great Arab buildings like the Alhambra.
(Sadly the mechanism which was suppose to regulate the amount of sunlight within the building is no longer working!)
And to end here's three photos of the Citroën showroom on the Champs-Elysées designed by Manuelle Gautrand .

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