The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, 2015. Photo: Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images.

France’s beloved Centre Pompidou museum will be closed for four years as part of a sweeping overhaul.

The museum, which was completed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 1977, will be closed to the public at the end of 2023 and will remain shut until the end of 2026. Administrators hope to reopen the building to mark its 50th anniversary in 2027. Its final show before its temporary closure will be dedicated to Picasso’s drawings.

Serge Lasvignes, president of the Centre Pompidou, says the planned work is critical to preserving the building, which he calls the museum’s “first masterpiece.”

“This work guarantees a future for the Centre Pompidou,” he said. “[It] is essential if it is to remain a world icon of modernity and architecture.”

As part of the renovation, which will cost around €200 million, safety and accessibility standards will be dramatically improved, as will the building’s heating and cooling systems to mitigate a risk of legionella, a bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease. Asbestos also needs to be removed from the premises and the exterior and its bay windows will be replaced. On top of that, its computer and server system will be modernized.

The structure has not undergone any substantial renovations since it was first completed.

Last September, the museum announced it was considering either a three-year closure or a partial closure for the renovation. Speaking to media on January 26, French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot said she chose the former option because it was less expensive and more efficient.

According to a report in Le Figaro, museum administrators plan to seek out partnerships with institutions and authorities to move its programming offsite in the interim. Other Pompidou sites, including museums in the French city of Metz and in China, will remain open.

The announcement of the museum’s closure, made by the French ministry of culture, comes at an ironic time: the Pompidou, which has around 120,000 works in its collection, has been closed for much of the last 12 months due to the pandemic.

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