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."
The Japan Art Association (JAA) has named French architect Dominique Perrault winner of the 2015 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award. Lauded for his "wildly imaginative [or] abstractly minimal" designs, Perrault is known for masterfully blending innovative works with their context.
“Architecture should not be closed on itself, with its back to the context," says Perrault. "It should always be in resonance with the environment, whether natural or urban. We architects should always think about our buildings’ place in the urban design, and about the city itself as a whole.”
The prestigious global arts prize, now in its 27th year, recognizes "outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts" in the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, music and theater/film. Perrault joins a small handful of architects who have received the award, including James Stirling, Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza, Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Toyo Ito, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, David Chipperfield, andJacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.
All five 2015 Praemium Imperiale laureates include:
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...
Today is Europe day in the EU, and to celebrate we're rounding up some of the best Europe-inspired architecture. First, two buildings designed for European institutions, the Court of Justice of the European Communities by Dominique Perrault and the Council of Europe by Art & Build Architect. Next, we've got a building which celebrates the achievements of Europeans, the Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies. Finally, two buildings which promote the very notion of Europe: the EU Pavilion by Senat Haliti, a message of hope for the 72% of Kosovans who wish to join the EU; and Le Monolithe by MVRDV, which has the first article of the European Constitution imprinted on the facade - expounding a belief in "a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity, and equality between women and men prevail."