Controversy surrounded the opening of the world's largest artistic and cultural centre in Paris on Monday (31 January).
Controversy surrounded the opening of the world's largest artistic and cultural centre in Paris on Monday (31 January). The inauguration ceremonies in the French capital were led by the country's President, Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
The opening of the French National Centre for Art and Culture -- known as the Pompidou Centre for short -- was attended by many foreign Heads of State including Zaire's President Mobutu Sese Seko. But beneath the grandeur of the inauguration ceremonies was the opposition that was surrounded the centre. The two architects have designed a building which they described as "functional." All the plumbing, cables, air conditioning and escalators are in plastic tubes up the outside of the building. Many Parisians thought the steel scaffolding, which is part of the structure itself, would eventually be taken be taken down.
The centre was conceived by President Giscard d'Estaing's predecessor, Georges Pompidou. The former President was a strong patron of French contemporary art and deplored the fact that the country had no museum worthy of it. The new centre is almost 500 feet long (152.5 metres) and 130 feet (40 metres) high. It can accommodate 10,000 visitors at one time without being crowded and has a permanent staff of about 1,000 people. The centre's supporters hope the initial opposition to the building's architecture will eventually subside as people become aware of its wide artistic and cultural potential.