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Metz, France – Shigeru Ban's new Pompidou Centre nears completion

Shigeru Ban’s Pompidou of the South. Photography by Roland Halbe

In 1971, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers were the surprise winners of a competition for the new Pompidou Centre in Paris; one of those epochal moments in architectural history that effectively gave birth to high-tech and kickstarted two stellar careers.

Now, nearly 40 years later, Pompidou is expanding its cultural operations, with a new outpost in Metz. Shigeru Ban’s ‘Pompidou of the South’, also the outcome of a competition, opens to the public in mid May.

Dominated by a vast membrane roof that drapes languidly over the building like a giant white manta ray, it marks a pivotal ratcheting up of scale for Ban, whose output hitherto has been confined to a more nuanced and bonsai level of buildings.

How will his ideas on structure and materials translate? We’ll return soon to find out.

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