Architecture can split opinion, divide judgement and inspire debate like no other.
In the modern era, some of the world’s most provocative buildings have been designed by British architects.
Scroll down to explore both sides of the story.
Six million visitors in its very first year
The piazza became one of the most frequently visited places in Paris – as its designers intended – with crowds flocking to gain unrivalled views of the city.
Six controversy-laden years of construction
Costing a total of 480,000,000 Francs to complete, it took 25,000 drawings, seven lawsuits and endless battles over budgets to finally construct the building.
“The supreme moment of technical euphoria”
Many see the building as the most spectacular post-war monument in Paris, regarding it as the catalyst behind a whole new attitude to public architecture in the city.
“The back of a refrigerator, enormously enlarged”
With an exposed structure opening up its steel structure, giant external escalators and service ducts, some critics view the building’s style as ‘disturbing’.
“Immediately people started to come around. The press changed tack and carried on as if they had loved it all along”
Despite the initial outrage, Rogers sensed that the public, and press, began to change opinion over time. It eventually became the most visited building in Europe.
“I was once standing outside it and I told an old lady that I was the architect. She hit me with her umbrella”
Such was the adverse reaction from Parisians to the building’s radical design, architect Richard Rogers was subject to some extraordinary public hostility.
“A defiant technological intervention into the historic cityscape”
The building’s radicalism was seen by some as the driving force behind regenerating an area shattered by the destruction of the old market, Les Halles.
“An act of vandalism against one of the oldest quarters of Paris”
The immense, futuristic building was often compared to a battleship that had run aground, or a vast oil refinery. Its place in the city was hotly debated.
Be part of the debate. Vote for where you stand on Centre Pompidou.
Find out more about one of the world’s most controversial buildings, and how it’s split opinion from day one.
Explore our celebration of the British architects redefining the world’s cities with extraordinary buildings.
"Pompidou" Emmanuel Thirard / RIBA Library Photographs Collection