Construction is nearly complete on Centre Pompidou-Metz, an incredible new extension of the original Centre Pompidou modern art museum in Paris. Designed by architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, the elegantly sloping structure takes inspiration from the technical properties of Chinese hats and bridges. The building is topped with a curvaceous roof that does a remarkable job of shielding it from the elements while opening up an expansive volume of space dedicated to the arts.
Although the building’s structure may strike some as an awkward compilation of odd forms, Centre Pomidou-Metz is a very well thought out piece of architecture. Ban and Gastines designed the building to have a “superstructure” — a curving roof made of wooden hexagonal units supported by a central metallic spire and four conical pillars. The large surface area of this signature roof element covers a collection of interior spaces where three galleries unite. The glue-laminated timber mesh resembles the cane-work pattern and technical properties of a Chinese hat. The mesh is highly resilient, requires minimal support, and it is coated in a waterproof membrane made of white fiberglass and Teflon. This structure creates a naturally temperate environment, which ensures that works of art are conserved in the best possible conditions.