ARC 232 discussion board: TOPIC 05

TOPIC 05: Museums (part 2)

(You knew there would be a “part 2,” didn’t you?)

Last week we looked at the Guggenheim as an important work, among other things, in the history of museum design. In this new post, consider the same questions about the (un)desirability to be a spectacle/vessel for art, but now turning your attention to the Centre Pompidou. Based on your assessment of the Guggenheim, do you think Pompidou is more or less successful as a museum?

Your response comments on at least two colleagues’ posts due by the following Thursday.


  1. Reply
    Andrew Rogers April 18, 2018

    After looking more into the Guggenheim I have gained an interest in how the art is displayed and how people are to move through the space. With this being said I going to say that the Guggenheim is more successful as a museum because it has more going on than just the art. The architecture accompanies the art. This allows the viewer to not only experience the art, but also have a building to view in awe all around. When one is at Pompidou the art pops out, because there is nothing going on around it. This is beneficial for the art, because it gives it more attention but I think that it should have to earn that attention. The ramp construction of the Guggenheim is interesting because it keeps people moving. As mentioned in class, people do not want to stand at an angle for a long time. This gives people a chance to look at the art and study it, but continue to flow. Pompidou is flat which allows the viewer to be more comfortable while observing one piece of art for a longer time. This can definitely be beneficial, but I still appreciate the flow of the Guggenheim. One last thing that I think is very interesting about the Pompidou is that different room color means different time spans that the art will be presented. Though this is interesting, I still believe that the Guggenheim is more successful overall as a museum.

  2. Reply
    Maxwell Starcevich April 18, 2018

    Having not been to either building, I read a bunch of reviews of the buildings to get a sense of what people liked and did not like. I found that both buildings attracted people through both art and architecture. In fact, most of the reviews at least mentioned the buildings themselves. Both the Guggenheim and the Pompidou have similar circulation. At each, the visitor is taken to the top of the building, and then makes their way down.

    I think the Guggenheim is more successful as a museum, though I like the Centre Pompidou more. The Guggenheim directs the focus on the art, while the Pompidou is multi-use. (Library, shops, restaurant.) Though the Guggenheim has other spaces also, the Pompidou seems to be a public building with an art gallery inside, rather than an art museum. That, for me, is the biggest distinction between the two buildings, and it is why I think the Guggenheim is more successful in being a museum. That’s not to say the Centre Pompidou is not also good — it is more of a forum for the public. The large court outside the Pompidou compared to the small awning at the Guggenheim demonstrate this difference.

    • Reply
      Aaron Foster April 26, 2018

      It is accurate in address the nature of the space of Pompidou in which it has grown to function. The museum should be successful in priding itself on gathering the masses for the view of art rather than attract for a nice coffee in a fancy building. In this way, the Guggenheim is more successful in terms of solving the problem of building a museum. it attracts people for the exterior design and also the experience of walking along the walls of famous art.

  3. Reply
    Taylor Wills April 18, 2018

    I feel the Centre Pompidou resembles a more conventional museum than the Guggenheim. It is a masterpiece of architecture, from the exterior. The external structure and utilities draws the eye but does not distract from the art inside. Like most museums the Pompidou is divided into spaces with different artistic styles in each. It is not limited to one style of art, whereas only modern art is best displayed in the Guggenheim. When visitors move through the Pompidou they can view art through the ages, and like the narrator of the Pompidou galleries video, “For me, a museum is a place for not only contemplation, but also interaction: a place that is responsive to all forms of creation.” I feel that the Pompidou more successfully fulfills the role of the museum than the Guggenheim; the Guggenheim is too much of a sculpture itself to fulfill this role well.

    • Reply
      Andrew Rogers April 23, 2018

      Just a thought, do you think that perhaps our understanding of museum is limited to what we see as a norm. We see many museums display art just as the Pompidou does and maybe this is why many people like it so much. It is what we are used to. The Guggenheim takes this idea and twists it, literally. I think that the Guggenheim gives museums a change that was not expected.

    • Reply
      Maxwell Starcevich April 23, 2018

      I like that you point out that the Pompidou is better suited to multiple ages of art, I had not thought of that. From that criteria, it certainly is a better museum than the Guggenheim. I wonder then, if the best museums are able to display all kinds of art, or if a museum can still be good if it only focuses on one time period. Maybe a Guggenheim-ish building could work better if it placed art in a continuum, preserving the sense of time while still maintaining the unbroken journey along the ramp.

    • Reply
      Anna Wightman April 26, 2018

      I agree with what you said about viewing art through the ages. While Pompidou does not give specific emphasis to the importance of different era’s or styles of art, it does give distinction between them. This is something missing form the Guggenheim. It gives potentially a chronological order to the art it houses, but because it is all in the same room, it almost produces the idea that all the art is the same. Even the fact that you can physically see art from across the atrium or up a few floors really makes me think that the art can all be grouped together without differentiation. If we are to design spaces for “art through the ages” then we are saying that each age is important, and therefor worth focusing on and learning about in their differences.

  4. Reply
    Elizabeth Van Bruggen April 18, 2018

    In terms of whether a museum should be a neutral container, again I think we must first define what we believe to be a neutral container. I do not think that either the Guggenheim or the Centre Pompidou are neutral containers. I do believe that the Guggenheim interacts more with the art as it shapes the way you walk to and stand to view the art, but the Pompidou is far from neutral because now it is the exterior of the building which stands out as much more radical and unique. Personally, I do not think that this building looks like it should be a museum for art because of how industrialized it looks from the outside. I think it lacks a certain form of professionalism to house a form, even a modernist form, of art to be viewed by the public. Yes, I think that a building can be its own form of art and the Pompidou surely does this, but I do not think that it should look uninviting as I believe this building does. I think the building and art as a whole has a more playful feel to it which indeed may attract more people and maybe more of the general public or the ‘mob’ as Frank Lloyd Wright would call us so that could be the benefit of this buildings form, but it is definitely not a neutral container or our standardized definition of what a museum is.

  5. Reply
    Monica Medina April 19, 2018

    I personally think it is less successful as museum. In my opinion it is too stripped down and it is distracting for the viewer. The fact that everything is exposed is a distraction from enjoying the experience that the art has. The open space on the inside caused for a distraction as the viewer goes through the museum because there are so many things to view and there is no separation between the exhibits/art. As for the Guggenheim, the sense of enclosure it has with floors and walls that spiral up, even though it could be considered distracting to some, it forces you to focus on the art that is displayed in front of you while still having the museum enhance the experience.

  6. Reply
    Grant Bradman April 19, 2018

    The Centre Pompidou seems to allows the art to do more of the talking than the Guggenheim museum. The Pompidou seems complex on the outside but on the inside it is very clean lines, and stark white. When comparing the Guggenheim and the Centre Pompidou and which is more successful as a museum, the centre pompidou pops out as more of that “typical” museum. The Spaces created in the museum feel as though each room is a collection of art and when you move between spaces you are moving to a new collection, which is the typical experience of a museum. When you look at the Guggenheim the entire museum feels as though it is a collection that all works together. While each piece is being displayed in it’s own space they all connect to one another. So When comparing the two I feel as though the Pompidou works better, even though I enjoy the Guggenheim better.

  7. Reply
    Ian Burns April 19, 2018

    Considering that I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Centre Pompidou, I actually think it’s more successful as a house for art than that of the Guggenheim Museum. To start, having the high-tech design of placing the building’s innards on the exteriors leaves more space in the interior for works of art and sculpture. To end, the building’s design may be complementary or contrasting to the art it holds though it doesn’t conflict in any oppressive way for how viewers see the art. I also agree that the Centre Pompidou is indeed a spectacle in its location, though ideally it makes sense for being the house of art that was probably considered the spectacle of its time. And though to some it may be an ugly building, I can see it has beauty in its own ways.

  8. Reply
    Desmond Wahlfeld April 20, 2018

    Personally, I feel as though The Centre Pompidou does not achieve what the Guggenheim does. I applauded the Guggenheim on its ability to function and display the artwork within in addition to embodying the ideals and disciplines of artwork within. I personally believe that this complimentary interaction is in fact what makes the Guggenheim successful, Modernism art encapsulated in a Modern building. However, when it is placed in the context of the Centre Pompidou there is this clash between the Modernist art and the Post-Modernism structure that feels quite unnatural. I feel this takes place because Post -Modernism is that of a rejection or retaliation to Modernism that doesn’t entirely work in the favor of the art or the architecture.

    • Reply
      Andrew Rogers April 23, 2018

      I agree that the Guggenheim achieves more in its display of art, but I did not look at it from the perspective of the art clashing with the architecture due to the different styles. Now that you mentioned that I think that is something that can be said for many museums in the way that they display their art.

    • Reply
      Maxwell Starcevich April 23, 2018

      I agree that the Guggenheim visually aligns with the art inside of it. But is the Centre Pompidou post-modern? Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano were more aligned with the High Tech movement, which reacted against modernism in some ways, but wasn’t post-modern in the same way as Venturi’s buildings. (High Tech did not do things simply for the sake of making modernists upset, whereas some post-modernists did.) I do think that a clash happens at the Pompidou. There is some very old art inside of it, so regardless of whether it is post-modern or high tech, it contrasts the old art contained within.

  9. Reply
    Chloe Burkhart April 20, 2018

    In the last discussion post, I argued that as long as a museum is designed with the functionality of a museum in mind, the architect should not hold back interesting detail or creativity. This means that the building can (and should) also be considered art; just another thing to explore and admire while at the museum. Wouldn’t anything but be considered hypocritical? But of course, “good” art is subjective, so some people may consider any museum ugly and therefore distracting. This is where things become complicated.

    Although I imagine that many people don’t like the look of the Centre Pompidou, I think it is appropriate. A museum that houses modern art should be modern, and Pompidou’s high tech style fits the theme. The Centre also contains a library, which I think makes the style of the building even more appropriate. A library should be a place with an environment of curiosity, and I think most people can agree that the Pompidou encourages curiosity. The Pompidou would probably still be curious to someone who thinks Pompidou is ugly; probably BECAUSE of the fact that he or she thinks it’s ugly (I asked my brother, and that’s how he thinks about the building). However, hopefully he or she could recognize that the interest of the building is admirable, whether or not he or she deems the building beautiful.

    With that said, I think the Centre Pompidou and the Guggenheim are equally successful. They’re both appropriately modern, interesting, and well thought out. But since both buildings are so different, I think it would be hard to decide which building is more successful. However, since both buildings are functional, fit the theme of the art inside, encourage curiosity, and are unique, I’d say both are successful, but incomparable.

    I think it’s also important to note that although I think of both museums as successful, I don’t find either building particularly beautiful; well, at least in the way most people think of “beautiful.” I don’t especially like their appearances, but can find beauty in their functionality, appropriateness, and the thoughtfulness of the architect.

  10. Reply
    Jacob Collins April 21, 2018

    I think that the Centre Pompidou is less successful as a museum than the Guggenheim because the Guggenheim takes you for a journey and gives you a peek at what is coming up, and inhanses the art work that it contains. In the Centre Pompidou there are a lot of walls that can hinder the viewing experience.

  11. Reply
    Jenny Iverson April 21, 2018

    Personally, I find that the Centre Pompidou is more successful as a museum than the Guggenheim. Though the Guggenheim is aesthetically pleasing and an intriguing building, I find that it is limited in what it can exhibit in that it only displays one piece of art per wall section. When I go into a museum, I enjoy being able to interact with multiple pieces of art of different forms in one area. I like being able to connect paintings to artifacts and feel that it allows me to learn more about different artists and cultures, which I feel is one of the main purposes of a museum. I find that the Guggenheim is less successful as it only exhibits one piece of art at a time and this does not allow the full experience that I find a museum should have.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Van Bruggen April 23, 2018

      I agree that a museum should allow you to interact with multiple art forms in one area, but I disagree that Centre Pompidou is more successful. I think that this building looks to industrial to be a museum and although it has the ability to let you admire the art in whichever way you want I think that having some structure/order to the way you view the galleries is a good thing which is why I like the way the Guggenheim has a path set for you to walk through it.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Van Bruggen April 25, 2018

      Although I agree that the Centre Pompidou can be more successful as a museum especially compared to its drastic opposite of the Guggenheim, I have to say that I think that the Pompidou and all its High-Tech glory detracts from the ideal of housing certain kinds of art. I think there is a time and place for art to be displayed here especially in the case of abstract and modern art as the building itself has some of these characteristics. I do like that the Pompidou is more open to the general public while the Guggenheim seems closed off to those who can’t afford to go, but there is a time and place for more high end art to such as the Mona Lisa.

  12. Reply
    Emma Okesson April 21, 2018

    My analysis of the Guggenheim is that it does an excellent job of presenting art in a continuous, guided manner that creates an interesting space and experience but does not overpower the art. The spiral shape gently guides the viewer around the galleries, which makes the art even more special because of the journey of discovery.
    Compared to the Guggenheim, I thought that the Centre Pompidou looked like an accidental museum. If I walked up to the building, I would struggle to understand how to enter it, since the exposed structure with its tube-like ramps looks like scaffolding that they’re still fighting the contractor to take down. In my opinion, the floor plan isn’t much better, with long hallways leading off to clusters of rooms. There’s no guided pace to view the art, which cheapens the visit and robs the viewer of the full experience. Compared to the Guggenheim’s complementary balance between the power of the art and the power of the architecture, the Centre Pompidou’s weak architecture weakens its art–without an excellent space, the art can’t exert its full power on the visitor.
    I feel that museums need to be more than simply a box in which interesting stuff is displayed. I want museums to teach me about the things I’m looking at, and part of that teaching is guiding me through the art in a narrative fashion. As a result, the Centre Pompidou is less successful than the Guggenheim because it doesn’t fully enact its storytelling potential.

  13. Reply
    JT (Jeffrey) Perek April 21, 2018

    I believe these museums are equally as successful. They are just successful in different ways. The Guggenheim’s architecture interacts with the art. We experience both the entire time that we walk though the museum. The Centre Pompidou’s architecture recedes from our attention. As we walk through , we are getting as close as we can to merely experiencing the art. Both of these buildings are successful. The only difference is what kind of experience is being achieved. Each is complementing the art within it, just in different ways. The Guggenheim is complementing by completing the experience of the art, and the Centre Pompidou is complementing by accentuating the experience of the art.

    • Reply
      Diana Romero April 25, 2018

      It is true that both are successful in their ways. I don’t agree the ramp setting the Guggenheim has because it can be uncomfortable for users who really want to appreciate art standing up. Even though this can be not so comfortable, the way the art is displayed can create a good experience for the viewers. The Pompidou is successful because the plain white canvas where art is displayed can let the viewers focus in the art.

  14. Reply
    Timothy White April 21, 2018

    I don’t know if i can deem one more or less successful than the other because while they are both museums they take completely different approaches to displaying. The Guggenheim is a piece of art in and of itself to house the collection of an extremely rich collector in an very structured route that is determined by the architecture. The Centre Pompidou is purely universal space that can house any large gathering of people. So for the the purpose of a private gallery where the building itself is a statement and testament to the contents of the building while still providing a good amount of space that is able to be utilized in different ways nonetheless is a Very successful motif in the case of the Guggenheim. Meanwhile, the centre pompidou is a very successful example of universal space that can literally house anything that it is built to be. So my judgment is going to fall on the fact that the centre pompidou is just universal space while the guggenheim offers an experience that is not really comparable.

  15. Reply
    Adam Wise April 21, 2018

    My previous position was one of moderation, and I believe it is one I will stick to. I believe that museum architecture should take care not to impose itself (to a large degree) upon its contents. The Pompidou Centre is an interesting case. By displaying its various systems on the exterior of the building, the interior has been left a blank slate, imposing little on the art. In addition, the interior can easily be altered for the purposes of the curator as well as the ever-changing exhibits; the interior architecture respects the art both aesthetically and functionally. The exterior of the building, with its intricate facades of brightly colored overlapping pipes and structural braces, stands as its own work of art, celebrating the systems too often kept hidden by buildings. All in all, the Pompidou Centre achieves excellence in two areas: it respects and facilitates the display of its contents through simple interiors; it stands as its own artistic expression through its high-tech exterior.

  16. Reply
    Aaron Foster April 21, 2018

    Centre Pompidou represents a presentation space for art, or a blank canvas of sorts. No character or unique design is present in the structure, it only exist to house works of art. The ultimate question is does this make the space more or less successful as compared to the Guggenheim. In terms of planning, the Guggenheim is unsuccessful. There is visual access to a large amount of works of art if one simply looks into the atrium. In terms of interior design, I believe the Guggenheim pushes the limits of design will not completely distracting or disrespecting the art being presented. The Pompidou only provides plan white walls, which achieves the function, but does not do so in a way to provide unique and artistic experience to the attendees.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Van Bruggen April 23, 2018

      I agree with your cases for both, but in my opinion, the Guggenheim is a successful museum in the sense that it was meant for more sophisticated displays for the upper-class people to come and view. On the other hand, the Centre Pompidou has a sense that the blank wall space could be anything which makes the museum as a whole have a feel for a more playful display that could be open to the whole general public. So, they can both be successful, but it depends on what is going to be displayed.

    • Reply
      Diana Romero April 25, 2018

      I definitely agree that the Guggenheim is not very successful for the users to fully enjoy the pieces of art since it can be distracting. The layout can be distracting and the ramp kind of floor can be not so comfortable for the people who tries to stay longer admiring some art. The Pompidou is a building that in the interior does not interrupt the way the art expresses itself.

    • Reply
      Anna Wightman April 26, 2018

      I find it interesting that you make the “blank canvas” sound like a bad thing. I would say that Pompidou does in fact achieve the function in a way that provides a unique experience to the attendees. I think that the art itself becomes the experience and the focus. In a lot of ways, I think the Pompidou is similar Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth house. It has such a distinguished exterior but basically disappears once you step inside of it. Once inside, the building recedes and all that is observed is the nature that surrounds the glass windows. In this way, I think the Pompidou takes all of its distractions, puts them all on the exterior, but surprises viewers by contrasting this on the interior, where all they have to look at is the art itself, and you can forget about the exterior the building all together. To me this is a very unique, and very sophisticated way to create a museum.

  17. Reply
    Anna Wightman April 22, 2018

    The Centre Pompidou is more desirable and successful as a museum. I think it’s planning and layout lend it to be more functional, and could arguably be said to focus more on art inside the building. The Pompidou was designed so that all the “ugly” parts of the building that most architects would hide within walls or a facade become a facade of their own, located on the exterior. In this way the Pompidou basically says “let’s move all this ‘extra’ stuff out of the museum so we can truly focus on the art at hand.” It does the opposite of distract, but physically removes all diversions, leaving you only with art. (This is unlike the Guggenheim which opens itself up so that a viewer may see almost the entirety of the museum in one glance, as well as other people, and the expanse of the buildings’ spiraling ramp.) I also think the layout of Pompidou, which consists of a timeline of art history organized into rooms, and side rooms that give more specificity, is much more suited to a museum than the Guggenheim which gives almost no hierarchy to any art over another.

  18. Reply
    Alex Karidas April 22, 2018

    I believe that the Centre Pompidou is just as successful as the Guggenheimheim in terms of its formal dialogues with the works of art within. When looking at the Centre Pompidou we can observe it’s facade to be wildly active to put it bluntly. The attention to formal detail helps emphasize the directionality the Centre Pompidou is trying to convey. The building serves as a vessel to display art as well as serving as an art form itself.

  19. Reply
    Riselle Iris Leong April 22, 2018

    In comparison to the Guggenheim, the Centre de Pompidou, I would argue, is complementary to the combative art styles its contents usually hold. Built at a more recent time, Piano and Rogers, along with the ARUP engineers designed this new building space so radically out of context from its surroundings to house a multitude of functions. Unlike Wright’s Guggenheim, it does not hold the elegance in form and material that Wright had successfully executed. Instead, this Centre seems to hold its precedence to a city parking garage that is so opposite and contradictory to its function. Its HVAC and plumbing are fully external and exposed to the outside with its naked structure and its iteration of a curtain wall. It is brutal and so mechanical in nature, how could it possibly relate to the art it holds?
    At first glance, this rugged, rough, cold building seems to contribute to experience of its contents. Its artwork, so geometric, new and always updating work, acts like a machine that is constantly replacing gears and working to adjust to the different functions it holds. It holds the museum, offices, and an auditorium and space for music development and appreciation– a multifunctional machine. In its political context it stands a radical progress to the future for the new French leader at the time. Its sharp contrasts as you enter the interior surprise you to clean white walls for all these different “clean slate” artwork; it really shows how different and more appreciative you are of the artwork in the interior in comparison to what looks like horrid architecture outside. Once you fully try to explore the interior with thoughtfulness of the historical political and artistic theories and mindset, you better understand the artwork just as modern art nowadays really needs to be taken as a whole beyond the frame.
    Personally, I do not like this design in comparison to Wright’s Guggenheim: the Guggenheim is more subtle and elegant in its experience and not so combative to its surroundings such as a soft, welcoming transition to this new art. Centre de Pompidou is brutish and brave in its strong statement that the future and progress is here– no opinion can stop it. Nevertheless, they both are complementary to its context, though I would argue that Wright’s Guggenheim was more successful in its endeavors.

  20. Reply
    John Ashworth April 22, 2018

    I believe the Centre Pompidou is actually, for the purpose of being a museum, more successful at that job than the Guggenheim. Both the exterior industrial, dynamic steel structure as the more classical, tradtitional museum interior communicate that it’s simply a flexible, non-biased space that functions as a support to the art it features. It doesn’t take over control and dominate the conversation of ‘good’ art, but rather, it uplifts whatever is inside by providing more of a blank canvas as the structural context.

  21. Reply
    Caleb Rutter April 22, 2018

    When comparing the Guggenheim to the Pompidou museum I think that the Guggenheim is still the more successful museum when it comes to being a desirable building that complements the art. I think that the Pompidou is similar to the Guggenheim because in the video it even mentions that the museum is a place for not only contemplation, but interaction. However, I personally think that the interaction with the art and the flow that is provided through the design of the Guggenheim is more successful. As we discussed in class, I think the ability that viewers have to look down and across to other art to notice comparisons is something that allows people to be more engaged and trying to make more connections than when the Pompidou separates the art out into individual rooms. I also think it is interesting that the Pompidou has color coordinated areas to show what art will be more permanent and what will be changed, but the building itself does not have the same appeal that the Guggenheim has. The Guggenheim is a beautiful building that stores beautiful art in a way that is more complementary than the Pompidou is.

  22. Reply
    Diana Romero April 22, 2018

    The Pompidou center is definitely a place where users have a different experience with the art, the building it self contains arts on the walls and the roofs, and not only talking about decoration but the structure itself represents a statement, structurally shows the beauty of materials of steel and glass. It may feel cluttered and noisy for users that want to appreciate only the works that are in exhibition. It’s a very colorful place and full of light, but this can be taken as distracting. I think this building is a bit less successful than the Guggenheim since visually is more challenging, I think the building itself should be a separate piece of art.

  23. Reply
    Diana Romero April 23, 2018


  24. Reply
    Diana Romero April 23, 2018

    I think the Centre Pompidou is a monument itself since it visually challenges visitors to understand it’s structure. Structurally, is a very interesting building since it pops out materials like steel and concrete and used in a way that can feel noisy, or it might look like all cluttered as well. What I find similar with the Guggenheim museum is the way that both buildings use contrast and become beautiful with an outstanding design. The Guggenheim museum contrast itself with the rest of the buildings at Manhattan since they are pretty much rectangular and not very bright in colors. Then we see the centre Pompidou which is creating a contrast with the exterior and the interior of it. On the outside is very colorful, full of different shapes, and with a lot going on. On the inside of this building, art works are displayed in plain walls. I think the Pompidou is achieving to be a piece of art itself on the exterior and inside it, it’s goal is to be as respectful and not distracting to the art displayed. I can’t completely be certain about deciding if either The Guggenheim or Pompidou is more successful since they are both pieces of art containing art works and affecting the users experience in their own way. Anyhow, I would say the Pompidou centre might be more successful as a museum since the floor itself don’t represent a impediment for people who try to look at a piece of art for too long, the surroundings are not really distracting from the art in exhibition, and the layout or organization of the museum can be considered more efficient than the Guggenheim.

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