the world's most visited architecture website

Jean Nouvel Wins Approval for Leaning "Tours Duo" Project in Paris

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. 

Spotlight: Jean Nouvel

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."

Jean Nouvel on Architectural Eroticism and His Battles to Complete Buildings Correctly

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.

The Torre Agbar. Image © Flickr CC user Juanedc The Fondation Cartier. Image © Flickr CC user Rory Hyde The Museo Reina Sofía. Image © Flickr CC user Manu (mscosgalla) The Philharmonie de Paris. Image © Flickr CC user Marko Erman

Jean Nouvel Loses Court Case Over Philharmonie de Paris

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."

Jean Nouvel Seeks Legal Action to Distance Himself from Philharmonie de Paris

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. 

Jean Nouvel Boycotts Opening of the Philharmonie de Paris, Saying It Is "Not Finished"

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.”

Light Matters: Mashrabiyas - Translating Tradition into Dynamic Facades

The delicate mashrabiya has offered effective protection against intense sunlight in the Middle East for several centuries. However, nowadays this traditional Islamic window element with its characteristic latticework is used to cover entire buildings as an oriental ornament, providing local identity and a sun-shading device for cooling. In fact, designers have even transformed the vernacular wooden structure into high-tech responsive daylight systems. 

Jean Nouvel is one of the leading architects who has strongly influenced the debate about modern mashrabiyas.  His Institut du monde arabe in Paris was only the precedent to two buildings he designed for the harsh sun of the Middle East: The Doha Tower, which is completely wrapped with a re-interpretation of the mashrabiya, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum with its luminous dome.

More mashrabiyas, after the break...

BURJ DOHA, Doha, Qatar (2002 – 2012). Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image © CSCEC BURJ DOHA, Doha, Qatar (2002 – 2012). Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image © CSCEC BURJ DOHA, Doha, Qatar (2002 – 2012). Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image © CSCEC LOUVRE ABU DHABI, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2007 – under construction) Architecture and image. Image Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Artefactory, TDIC, Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Oxymore: Angularity That Belies Comfort

JeanNouvelDesign, the studio led by French architect Jean Nouvel, presented their new collection of furniture during Paris Design Week. Among them is the Oxymore chair, designed by JeanNouvelDesign and produced by specialty group-seating manufacturer Figueras International Seating. This fetishistic chair, a result of research conducted at the Figueras Design Centre, has a singular cubic appearance that provides extreme comfort, softness. It is precisely this unapparent relationship between look and feeling that gives the seat its name—since an oxymoron means a union of contradictory elements.

Courtesy of Figueras Courtesy of Figueras Courtesy of Figueras Courtesy of Figueras

VIDEO: Jean Nouvel on Arabic Architecture, Context and Culture

In this powerful interview, Jean Nouvel explains his relationship to Arabic architecture. Discussing his various projects in Arabic countries - such as his office tower in Doha or the Louvre Abu Dhabi - Nouvel discusses how he is influenced by and integrates the abstraction and geometry of traditional Islamic architecture into his modern designs. He also espouses a strong opinion on the understanding of context in architecture, saying: "I'm a contextual architect, but for me the context isn't only the site. It's above all a wider historical context - a cultural context... each time, building is trying to continue a history, and to take part in this history." His architecture, he says, is about listening: "The architect is not meant to impose his own values or his own sensitivities on such general plans." Video via Louisiana.

Spotlight: Jean Nouvel

“My interest has always been in an architecture which reflects the modernity of our epoch as opposed to the rethinking of historical references. My work deals with what is happening now—our techniques and materials, what we are capable of doing today.”

Today is the 69th birthday of the great French architect and designer, Jean NouvelThe winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions, resulting in a variety of projects that - while strikingly different - always demonstrate an interesting use of light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. More on the Pritzker-winning architect, after the break.

His variety of work can be seen in such acclaimed works as the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Fondation Cartier and. Nouvel also has a series of notable projects currently in the works, such as the New Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Art Museum of China.

© Ricardo Vidal © Paris Architecture Website © Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Photograph by Philippe Ruault © Jean Nouvel Ateliers

Milan Design Week 2013: Office for Living / Jean Nouvel

© Alessandro Russotti
© Alessandro Russotti

This week, 2008 Pritzker Prize laureate Jean Nouvel is expressing his vision for the workspaces of the future at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Nouvel was asked by Cosmit, the Salone's parent company, to create a huge project tailored specifically to the Saloni that would document the tremendous changes that have altered living and working spaces over the past few years. Nouvel responded with a project that "frees up the office space" and is a "counter to urban segregation and the zoning of other specially dedicated workplaces." He achieves these goals in his design by rejecting cloned and enclosed spaces as well as serial repetitiveness, suggesting more cohesive formulas that will better serve the domestic and international workplaces of the future.

More from Cosmit on "Project: office for living" after the break.

Ceramica Cumella: Shaping Ideas

Aichi Expo, Japan © Ceramica Cumella
Aichi Expo, Japan © Ceramica Cumella

From September 29th to December 8th, the exhibition dedicated to the work of Toni Cumella will be open. His works in ceramic have been utilised by architects such as Enric Miralles, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, or Jean Nouvel. These collaborations made his material became part of the image of Barcelona, being part of the construction of La Sagrada Familia, and the restoration of Casa Batlló and Parc Güell.

Focusing on the 4 main fabrication processes in use at Ceramica Cumella – extruding, casting, pressing and revolving – Shaping Ideas presents the work of Toni Cumella and the application of his ceramics in some of contemporary architecture’s most significant projects.

New Police Headquarters and Extension of Charleroi/Danses / Jean Nouvel and MDW Architecture

Courtesy of Jean Nouvel and MDW Architecture
Courtesy of Jean Nouvel and MDW Architecture

The new Police headquarters and the extension of Charleroi/Danses was designed by Jean Nouvel and MDW Architecture. The City of Charleroi has commissioned the CFE group to design, build, finance and maintain this ambitious project. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Update: Jean Nouvel Jewelbox Houses Historic Carousel in NYC

© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

Since it’s opening on September 16th, the Jean Nouvel acrylic encasement and historic Jane’s Carousel has become a landmark in the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park for New York families. The welcoming public pavilion offers spectacular views of the East River, the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, and the Manhattan skyline.

Continue reading for more detailed information and images.

Architecture City Guide: Barcelona

Courtesy of Flickr CC License / SlapBcn
Courtesy of Flickr CC License / SlapBcn

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Barcelona. We recently featured an engaging video where Wiel Arets half jokingly said Barcelona is fantastic but boring. He continued to say as soon as Sagrada Família is finished Barcelona is done; there is nothing left to do there (10:50). Arets can say what he wants about Barcelona supposedly being boring, but our city guide doesn’t reflect this. Barcelona is filled with fantastically expressive architecture that springs from its proud Catalan culture. It was impossible to feature all our readers suggestions in the first go around, and we did not even come close to including some of the most iconic building such as Casa Milà. Thus we are looking to add to our list of 24 in the near future. Further more there are so many fabulous buildings on the drawing board or under construction, i.e. the projects in the @22 district, we’ll most likely be updating this city guide for quite awhile, regardless of Sagrada Família’s completion.

Take a look at our list with the knowledge it is far complete and add to it in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Barcelona list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Paris

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Benh Lieu Song
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Benh Lieu Song

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Paris. For centuries Paris has been the laboratory where innovative architects and artists have come to test their ideas. This has created a city that has bit of everything. Where the architecture of some cities seems to undergo phases of punctuated equilibrium, Paris’s architectural fossil record gives an impression of gradualism; all the missing links are there. This makes it easy to trace the origins of the most contemporary ideas throughout history. Nothing seems to come out of nowhere. If you look around you kind find the design’s inspiration running through the city’s Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Rocco, Neo-Classical, Empire, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary Architecture. Seen in another context, many of Paris’s buildings might seem out of place, but the bones of this city support the newest iterations on the oldest and most profound questions. The 24 contemporary designs that comprise our list probably should not be viewed outside of this context, even though that is the stated goal of some of the designs.

As the most visited city in the world and arguably the capital of culture, it is impossible to capture the essence of Paris in 24 modern/contemporary designs. Our readers supplied us with great suggestions, and we really appreciate the help and use of their photographs. The list is far from complete and we realize that many iconic buildings are not yet on the list. We will be adding to it in the near feature, so please add more in the comments section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Paris list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: London

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Diliff
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Diliff

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to London. This is our second stop in Europe, and once again I had to capitulate and double the number of buildings that we normally feature. We could not feature all of the suggestions, and will be adding to the list in the near future. We really appreciate those readers who offered their suggestions and the use of their pictures to make up this list.

Samuel Johnson famously said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” As home to a long tradition of kings and queens, the Royal Society, and the roots of the Industrial Revolution, it is not surprising that there is a rich tension and collaboration between the historic and contemporary architecture in London. This reflects a city and culture that has a strong history of celebrating the past while also moving forward. Conflicts often emerge, as the goals of one side clash with those of the other. This relationship, however, is why I find walking the streets of London so appealing - those beautiful moments when history and progress collide.

Once again, thanks to all our readers for your help. We encourage you to add more of your favorites in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: London list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Minneapolis

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Bobak Ha'Eri
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Bobak Ha'Eri

This week our Architecture City Guide is headed to the city stars fall on. With a few notable exceptions, one can hardly be called a starchitect if s/he hasn’t designed something in Minneapolis. Since 2005 the starchitects that have fallen on this “City of Lakes” include Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Mueron, César Pelli, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, and Frank Gehry. This is a surprising number for a city just north of 380,000 people. Few cities of this size could boast as much. What’s more our list of 12 is far from complete. There are many wonderful historic and contemporary buildings mixed in with the explosion of starchitecture. Please leave comments of buildings one should not miss when visiting Minneapolis.

Architecture City Guide: Minneapolis list and corresponding map after the break!