Called a number of pet names—Smurf House, Chinese Hat, White Toadstool— because of its unusual white undulating roof, the new Centre Georges Pompidou outpost art museum in Metz, France, is a serious work of design by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and French architect Jean de Gastines (associated with Philip Gumuchdjian). The Pompidou-Metz is encased by a large latticework structure of curvilinear laminated wood capped by a taut white PTFE-coated fiberglass membrane.
Ban’s inspiration, it’s said, was the hexagonal canework pattern of a Chinese hat purchased in the museum shop of the mothership Centre Pompidou, Paris. The translucent fabric roof covers a surface area of 8,000m2 and glows at night. Boxy art galleries hover under this undulating fabric hat and protrude at strategic points to face landmarks in the Metz cityscape.