Friday, November 23, 2007

Paris is Pretty

Thursday my architecture class visited the Pompidou Center and it got me thinking. The Pompidou Center includes a library, modern art museum, and music center. It's pretty much in the middle of the city and its construction was a hot spot of debate. There was a plan in the 70s to build a modern art museum in La Defense (right outside Paris) but then the plans changed and it was decided it should be constructed on its current location (back then it was an abandoned market space). It was built there but the Parisians weren’t too happy. The building itself is incredibly modern (with the water, air and electricity vents built outside the building, as well as the beams). People thought it was too modern and didn't belong in the heart of the city. But today it's incredibly popular and well liked. When I first saw it I too thought it looked out of place but after our visit I can't wait to go back. It's incredibly unusual but serves as a reminder of how Paris is a constantly changing city. Back when the Eiffel Tower was constructed, the Parisians were disgusted (especially the metal) and it was only supposed to stand for 10 years. But after 10 years the Parisians fell in love and now it's one of the most recognizable things about Paris. I love how Paris is such a random mixture of new and old. If the Parisians aren't happy with something they'll destroy it and start over (that's not to say there are not plenty of old buildings here but they don't necessarily preserve something just because it's historic). Under Haussmann several buildings (lots of apartments) were destroyed to build a cleaner city. They like to experiment and keep things fresh which I love. I love walking to class or the metro and seeing a building from the 14th century next to something modern.
The first picture is the Pompidou center (The tubing is an escalator), the second is a fountain right by the Pompidou (it shows the new vs. old quite well) and the last is from the Place de la Concorde - I saw it on my way to art history class and thought it was too pretty to pass up.

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