Taken between 1952 and 1981, the photographs of Ernst Haas presented on display show an ambiguity bordering on the abstract, shot through with superimpositions, off-centered framing and blurriness.
From the moment it opened to the public on 2 February 1977, it met with immense success, rapidly becoming one of the most popular cultural venues in the world and one of the most visited monuments in France (architects Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini).
Today considered an emblematic 20th-century building, taken to the hearts of the people of Paris and a special favorite of tourists from elsewhere, the new arts centre rising from the Plateau Beaubourg was at first compared by its detractors to an oil refinery. The building continued to be a subject of polemic through the 1970s, before becoming the icon and exemplar that it is today.
A reorganisation in 1992 saw the creation of a department of cultural development, responsible for a programme of live performance, film screenings, lectures, symposia and debates. The fusion of the modern art museum and the centre for industrial design laid the foundations for an architecture and design collection that in twenty years has become one of the most impressive in the world.