Finished in 2010, the Pompidou Metz center imagined by Shigeru Ban quickly became an architectural icon not only for the city of Metz, but also for the region and even the country. Given the important number of visitors to the Museum and the restaurant, the need for more inside eating space on the terrace soon became apparent.
However, the idea of intervening on an existing building does not come without important implications regarding architectural integrity – the intervention will indeed modify the facades and volumes of the existing structure.
How can a 100 sqm extension be thought and built onto the Pompidou Metz Centre? A mere “feather” compared to the bold and colossal building. What would be the best way to intervene on a masterpiece such as this one, and which positioning should be adopted?
The Studiolada’s response was to distance and detach themselves from the existing architecture. This independence remains, from their point of view, the best way to solve issues of identity and amalgam between coexisting architectures. Their approach strives to be precise and elegant, as they deeply respect Shigeru Ban’s work. The addition to the building respects its heritage and character, while at the same time giving it specific meaning and identity.
The volume is formed of a glass monolith, clear and light ― making it radically different from the Museum in terms of architectural vocabulary and choice of materials (i.e. the use of wood, large white shapes and framed windows). The facades, abstract and intangible, are materialised by the reflections forming onto the clear shapes. The roof seems to be non-existent, as its edge is hidden by the windows. Thirty-three thin white blades form an enveloping structure around the compartment.
The new room does not strike us as an extension, but as an autonomous object appearing to avoid contact with its environment. The museum’s integrity is preserved as the new structure simply sits in place ― and could one day be easily removed, if need be.