The winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, French architect Jean Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions. The result is a variety of projects that, while strikingly different, always demonstrate a delicate play with light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. It was this diverse approach that led the Pritzker Prize Jury in their citation to characterize Nouvel as primarily "courageous" in his "pursuit of new ideas and his challenge of accepted norms in order to stretch the boundaries of the field."
Construction is an exercise in frugality and compromise. To see their work realized, architects have to juggle the demands of developers, contractors, clients, engineers—sometimes even governments. The resulting concessions often leave designers with a bruised ego and a dissatisfying architectural result. While these architects always do their best to rectify any problems, some disputes get so heated that the architect feels they have no choice but to walk away from their own work. Here are 6 of the most notable examples:
The world of architecture can be a serious place. Though the rest of the world holds quite a few stereotypes about architects, unfortunately none of them include us having a sense of humor—and perhaps that seriousness explains why one of the most popular memes involving architects isn't exactly favorable to the profession. Here at ArchDaily we thought we'd do just a little to correct that with some memes riffing on some of the profession's most beloved names—as our gift to the entire architectural profession. Read on to see what we've come up with, and don't forget to get involved with your own architecture funnies.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Australian firm Architectus’ 70-story mixed-use tower, 383 La Trobe Street, will be the newest addition to the Melbourne skyline, after its approval by the Victoria Department of Planning.
Upon completion, the building will be Nouvel’s first project in Melbourne and second in Australia following One Central Park in Sydney, which was named the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Best Tall Building Worldwide in 2014.
Jean Nouvel is engaged in talks to provide master planning concepts for the town of North Adams, Massachusetts, home to the renowned art institution MASS MoCA and a few miles from the Tadao Ando-designed Clark Art Institute. Initial discussions have included preliminary design proposals for three buildings in the city center along Heritage Park and on Main Street.
The new plan would be tasked with contributing to the economic revitalization of the city’s downtown, and would need to respond to the MASS MoCA campus, itself master planned with consult from Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, David Childs and Simeon Bruner of Bruner/Cott & Associates.
The biggest temptation is to jump right in. There are solutions that come to you. There are images that spontaneously appear. My method is rather to hold back as long as possible, to really imagine it spatially, so to be sure I have something to say.
Award winning documentarian and critic Matt Tyrnauer (director of Valentino: The Last Emperor, Citizen Jane: Battle For The City) has released a new documentary taking a look into the mind of world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel and his design process.
The film, titled Jean Nouvel: Reflections, follows the French architect around the world to visit his most recent works, including the Philharmonie de Paris, Institut du Monde Arabe, Fondation Cartier, Musée du Quai Branly, and Doha Tower and future projects, notably the National Museum of Qatar, his New York skyscraper, 53W53, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Exhibition design is never straightforward, but that is especially true within the highly unconventional architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum. Hanging a painting in a traditional “box” gallery can be literally straightforward, whereas every exhibition at the Guggenheim is the reinvention of one of the world’s most distinctive and iconic buildings. The building mandates site-specific exhibition design—partition walls, pedestals, vitrines, and benches are custom-fabricated for every show. At the same time, these qualities of the building present an opportunity for truly memorable, unique installations. Design happens simultaneously on a micro and macro scale—creating display solutions for individual works of art while producing an overall context and flow that engages the curatorial vision for the exhibition. This is why the museum’s stellar in-house exhibition designers all have an architecture background. They have developed intimate relationships with every angle and curve of the quarter-mile ramp and sloping walls.
Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. With this year’s edition featuring not just one pavilion but four additional “summer houses,” the program shows no sign of slowing down. Each of the previous sixteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 16th Pavilion this month, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public.
Update 9/20/16: The opening date for the museum has been pushed back to 2017.
Earlier this week, the temporary sea wall that had been separating the Louvre Abu Dhabi from the seawater of the Persian Gulf was removed, creating a new harmony between site and structure as envisioned in the original project renderings. The building, which was conceived in 2007 and designed by Jean Nouvel, is set to open later this year.
Jean Nouvel has unveiled the design of his latest project: a 22-story tower located near Avenida Paulista in São Paulo. The skyscraper, dubbed Rosewood Tower, is part of Cidade Matarazzo, a 27,000-square-meter site containing historic buildings that once made up the Filomena Matarazzo maternity hospital. A heritage-listed site, the Allard Group is restoring the buildings and creating a cultural center, of which Nouvel’s new tower will be a central component.
Set to contain a hotel as well as residential units, Nouvel’s tower is designed to be a vertical continuation of the local landscape. Thus, the nearly 100-meter-tall tower develops at different levels, forming terraces and large gardens with small and medium-sized trees.
Claude Parent, a celebrated French architect and Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur, died on the evening of the 27th February 2016, the day after his 93rd birthday. Born in 1923 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Parent was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and, throughout his career, developed a limited but extremely influential body of built work ranging from nuclear power stations to shockingly unconventional shopping centers, such as his project in Sens. Described as both a utopian and a 'supermodernist' in his own lifetime, the methodology he shaped has played a significant role for his peers of all generations and for contemporary artists and thinkers including Jean Nouvel, who began his professional life as a collaborator.
Doing architecture is listening. - Norman Foster
Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Diébédo Francis Kéré and three other great architects come together in this Louisiana Channel video to share their thoughts on how to design for different cultures. For most of them, understanding context, collaborating with locals and using architecture to address larger social issues are what makes global architecture a success.
Opened in January 2015, the Philharmonie de Paris was designed by Jean Nouvel, though he later distanced himself from the project. The concert hall, a 2400 seat venue, seeks to "invent a model all its own," according to the Philharmonie de Paris website. It breaks from the pack of concert halls by mathematically creating a more intimate space -- "the distance between conductor and the farthest spectator is only 32 metres (compared to 48 metres at the Salle Pleyel for a smaller audience)." The architect worked with various acoustic experts to "develop a bold system of cantilevered balconies and floating clouds, combining envelopment, intimacy and spaciousness." Here we see the project as photographed by Danica O. Kus. Read on for the full set.
Jean Nouvel has won approval for "Tours DUO" in Paris. The mixed-use project, planned to rise on a former industrial site on the edge of the Seine in the Paris Rive Gauche district, aims to become a "top business real estate destination" and neighborhood amenity. Its two towers will house an eight-story hotel, office space, retail, a top floor restaurant-bar, gardens and green terraces, as well as a "renewed access" to the Seine.
Recently, Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; after his Philharmonie de Paris opened ahead of schedule in January this year, he has been involved in a very public battle to have his name removed from the project to distance himself from the "aberrational decisions" of the client. In this interview, originally published by the Huffington Post as "Interview With Jean Nouvel," Elena Cué sits down with Nouvel in his Paris Studio to talk about his inspirations, the phenomenon of architectural eroticism, and why he is often disappointed with his completed works.
Elena Cué: The anti-Le Corbusier architect Claude Parent was your mentor when you were starting out at the age of 21. Please tell me about what meeting him meant for your career. You were actively involved in May 68 with a radical stance against the educational model of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. What were the things you demanded?
Jean Nouvel: I felt that his studio was one of the most creative at that time. He and his partner, Paul Virilio, created a space where a new approach to architecture could evolve. Paul became a very well-known philosopher and thinker of the time. I joined the intellectual rebellion of "May 68" and it certainly impacted my architectural style in terms of its criticism of the way in which French cities have traditionally been constructed. Later on, I joined with them to create the "March 1976 Movement," which demanded that the design of French cities no longer follow the same traditional model. Soon after, the architecture trade union was formed. It was a time of intellectual excitement.
Jean Nouvel has lost a court battle aimed to remove his name from the newly opened Philharmonie de Paris. As The Telegraph reports, Nouvel claimed that the £280 million concert hall was inaugurated prematurely and parts of the building was "sabotaged" in doing so, thus believing it to be morally inapt from him be associated with the building.
"The architecture is martyred, the details sabotaged," he said in a Le Monde editorial, "so taxpayers will have to pay, once again, to correct these aberrational decisions."
After boycotting the premature opening of the infamous Philharmonie de Paris, Jean Nouvel has taken his frustrations to court demanding that his name and image be removed from all references to the publicly funded €390 million concert hall. The French architect, who has claimed to be wrongly vilified as a “spoilt-star artist” and unfairly blamed for the project’s spiraling costs, does not “wish to express himself any further on the project.”
He has asked the court "to order amending work" to 26 "non-compliance" areas that do not comply with his original design. This areas include parapets, fireplaces, facades, the promenade and 2,400-seat concert hall itself.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel’s long awaited opening of the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall took place yesterday at a VIP event in which the French President, Francois Hollande, officiated the ceremony three years after it was scheduled to take place. Jean Nouvel, however, did not attend the event, instead writing an incendiary column for French Newspaper Le Monde, and releasing a statement saying he feels that the building has opened “too early” and it ”is not finished.” He argues that “there were no acoustic tests of the concert hall [as] the schedule did not allow the architectural and technical requirements to be respected, [...] despite all the warnings which I have been giving since 2013.”