Centre Pompidou-MetzThe Architecture

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The architects

On November 26th, 2003, following an international competition, the project proposed by Shigeru Ban Architects and Jean de Gastines Architectes was selected, with Philip Gumuchdjian Architects for the design of the winning competition project.


Shigeru Ban



Born in 1957, Shigeru Ban graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture, New York. In 1985 he set up his own agency in Tokyo: Shigeru Ban Architects.

Famous for his innovative paper tube structures, of which the “Paper House” (Yamanashi – Japan, 1995) was the prime example, he gave paper its credentials as a construction material. In 2000, his reputation in Europe was reinforced still further with the design of the Japanese Pavilion at the Hanover Universal Exhibition.

Constructed in 2002, his “Landscape House” (Shizuoka - Japan) is considered an architectural masterpiece with its play on transparency. Overlooking the Pacific, it is installed in a landscape of wood and ocean, fitted out with two windows 20 metres long and 2.5 metres high!

In 2005, at the request of the photographer Gregory Colbert, Shigeru Ban created the “Nomad Museum” for the “Ashes and Snow” exhibition. An ingenious assembly of containers and paper tubes, the “Nomad Museum” was set up in New York before continuing on to Los Angeles and then to Japan. With his work on temporary shelters, the Japanese architect also places his ingenuity at the service of humanitarian causes. In 1995, following the earthquake in Kobé, Japan, he created his paper tube houses to help the population., then going on to repeat this gesture in Turkey (Kaysnali, 1999) and in India (Bhuj, 2001). Attentive to the fate of refugees, he works with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, creating emergency shelters for victims of the Rwandese genocide. In 2004 Shigeru Ban was awarded the Grande Médaille d’or by the Academy of Architecture.

Freedom and innovation are the words which best characterise Shigeru Ban’s work.



Jean de Gastines





Born the same year as Shigeru Ban, in 1957, Jean de Gastines began his career at Frank Gehry in California, following which he worked with Aymeric Zublena in Paris. Since 1985 he is the director of the architectural firm that bears his name, employing a total of eight architects. Jean de Gastines has designed spa resorts, tourist residences and a large number of wine storehouses, in particular in the Médoc and the Basque Country in France, but also in South Africa.

Noteworthy also is his active participation in events such as the creation of the July 14th presidential tribune, from 1994 to 2004. In 2006, he was the winner of the competition for the creation of the new Center Parc de l’Est de la France, comprising 870 tourist residences built entirely out of wood. In 2008, Jean de Gastines was selected to design the set of two exhibitions in the Musée du quai Branly: “Mingei” and “Upside down”.

Since 2000 Jean de Gastines has been Shigeru Ban’s partner for all the projects the latter has worked on in Europe. Aside from the Centre Pompidou-Metz, they have worked together on two other projects: the Institut du canal de Bourgogne in Pouilly-en-Auxois and social housing in Mulhouse within the framework of an experimental project led by Jean Nouvel, together with many other temporary structures for events.

Jean de Gastines expresses his love of life through his work, which is always associated with well-being.





Philip Gumuchdjian



Born in 1958, Philip Gumuchdjian graduated from the Architectural Association and the Royal College of Art, London. Philip Gumuchdjian first became interested in architecture when he discovered the Centre Pompidou in 1976. He began his career in Richard Rogers studio in 1980 where he worked for 18 years before becoming associate Director. Together with Richard Rogers he wrote a book on sustainable development entitled “Villes pour une petite planète” (“Cities for a small planet”) (le Moniteur).

In 1998 he set up his own firm, Gumuchdjian Architects, and designed the Hauser & Wirth gallery, the Butler Family Collection museum, the Giant Recycled Paper Building, the Marylebone Performing Arts Centre in London, and the Think Tank in Ireland. Projects proposed but not chosen in competitions include the Tate Tower, the Dun Laoghrie Library in Dublin and an archi-sculpture with Anish Kapoor.

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is the cumulating achievement of ten years’ informal collaboration with Shigeru Ban, including the Paper Forest building in Kew Gardens, London.

The firm has received a number of architectural awards and, in particular, the National Award by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 2008, and the Stephen Lawrence Award in 2003 and 2010.

Philip Gumuchdjian teaches architecture and urban design at the UCL Bartlett school of architecture. He has recently been nominated to sit on the RIBA awards committee. www.gumuchdjian.com.