The Pompidou Centre, one of the top cultural attractions of Paris, home to one of the largest collections of modern art in Europe, is set to close for four years of renovation in 2023, said French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot.

Designed by acclaimed architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the Pompidou Centre was inaugurated in 1977 and is beginning to show its age.

“I had two choices,” said the minister to the newspaper Figaro. “One was to renovate the centre while open and the other to close it completely. I chose the second because it will take less time and be slightly less costly”, she explained.

Like all cultural venues in Paris, the Pompidou Centre closed from March to June last year, during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and has been closed since late October.

The radical design of the building requires for almost all its structural and mechanical elements to be visible from the outside, thus freeing up large exhibition spaces inside.

On the outside, the building is dominated by its metal frame and the transparent or colored pipes surrounding it. The air ducts are blue, the water pipes green, the power lines yellow and the elevators red.

The Centre’s library is housed on the building’s first three floors, while the Museum of Modern Art takes up the fourth and fifth floors.

This bold project in the heart of the French capital met with strong reactions and even lawsuits in the 1970s but eventually became a favourite reference point in Paris. It is named after former French President Georges Pompidou (1969-1974). A total of 3.2 million people visited it in 2019, before the beginning of the health crisis.