Museum: Smurf House? Chinese Hat?

pompoidou16metz_CA1-articleLargeFrom afar, the new Pompidou museum in the postindustrial landscape of Metz, France, resembles an enormous snow-white toadstool rising out of a wasteland. The avant-garde shape of the building in this otherwise sleepy provincial city of Lorraine, in once German eastern France, has inspired a flood of nicknames. The mayor calls it the Smurf House. Some residents prefer the more elegant Chinese Hat, because Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect who designed the building, used a woven bamboo hat purchased years ago in Paris as the inspiration for his roof. Whatever it is, the museum does not seem destined for the essential-detour status of, say, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.

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