A little under two years after announcing plans to open its first North American satellite location within a historic red-brick building in Jersey City, New Jersey, renovated and redesigned by OMA partner Jason Long, Centre Pompidou in Paris has now revealed that it will expand its ever-growing presence into the Middle East and South Korea.
Plans for the inaugural Middle East outpost of Centre Pompidou, set to rise in the ancient Saudi Arabian city of AlUla in the country’s northwestern Medina province, were first revealed earlier this month by the famed French modern and contemporary art museum. The news followed the March 12 signing of a finalized agreement between museum leadership and the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), a cultural entity operating under the auspices of the Saudi government and led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
As noted in a press announcement from Centre Pompidou, the “partnership aims to support the enhancement and development of the cultural, artistic, and creative aspects of the AlUla site. The Centre Pompidou will contribute its scientific and technical expertise in the training of staff, particularly in the areas of conservation management of collections and mediation. It may also provide support for the organizing of cultural and event programming.”
A tentative opening date and design team for the project have not been announced.
More recently, on March 20, Centre Pompidou revealed plans for a forthcoming Seoul branch following the signing of an agreement between the institution’s president, Laurent Le Bon, and Shin Hyun-woo, president of the Hanwha Culture Foundation, which established a framework “to create a museum of modern and contemporary art” in the South Korean capital. Details of that future satellite location are more precise than that of the Saudi outpost, with Centre Pompidou outlining a four-year plan to present a series of eight monographic exhibitions—two annually—based on a selection of works from the museum’s storied collection.
The new museum will be housed in 63 Building, the golden headquarters of South Korean business conglomerate Hanwha Group. The space, anticipated to open in 2025, will be renovated by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, according to a statement from Centre Pompidou.
Centre Pompidou’s expansion into South Korea and Saudi Arabia marks the latest development in a decade-plus-long growth spurt for the museum, which first opened in 1977 with a landmark “inside-out” building designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano—with Su Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini—in Paris’s 4th arrondissement. In 2010, the museum debuted its first regional branch, designed by Shigeru Ban, in the French city of Metz. That location has grown to become the most visited contemporary art center outside of the country’s capital region. Outside of France, additional Pompidou outposts have since debuted in Málaga, Spain (2015), Brussels (2018), and Shanghai (2019). Centre Pompidou x Jersey City is slated to open in 2024.
Back in Paris at the museum’s flagship location, a sprawling career retrospective of Norman Foster will open May 10 and run through August, just ahead of a massive renovation scheme that will see the building close to the public for three years.