Architect Day: Jean Nouvel
Jean Nouvel today has one of the biggest architecture offices in France. With a wide variety of bold designs, he implements a new architecture separate from the modernist movement and postmodernism.
Son of two teachers, Jean Nouvel was born in Fumel in Lot-et-Garonne, France, on August 12, 1945. His family began to move frequently when his father became the chief superintendent of the local schools.
“Each new situation requires a new architecture.”
From the beginning his parents encouraged him to study mathematics and languages, but Nouvel had always been interested in the arts, and at 16 years of age, he had a deeper contact when he learned to draw with one of his teachers.
After not gaining acceptance to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, he moved to Paris, where he won first place in a national competition to enter the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts.
Between 1967 and 1970 he worked as assistant to the architects Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, who after a year, already designated him as project manager in charge of a large apartment complex.
Nouvel completed his course at age 25 and soon started his own partnership with François Seigneur. Between 1972 and 1984, he had 3 different partnerships with Lezen Gilbert, Jean-François Guyot, and Pierre Soria. In 1985, he formed the Jean Nouvel et Associés in 1988 and the JNec. His office works, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, was formed in 1994 with Michel Pélissié.
Historically, Jean Nouvel has worked to create a stylistic language separate from the foundations of modernism and post-modernism. For this, he began each project with a mind free of preconceived ideas. Although at times he strays from traditional forms, Nouvel creates buildings that go beyond the traditional parameters.
Nouvel holds great concern for the environment of his projects, seeking a harmony between the work and its context. He consistently presents a fusion of elements of shadow, light and transparency.
“I am a hedonist, and I want to give pleasure to other people.”
Nemausus, Nimes, France
Pierre et Vacances, Cap d’Ail, France
40 mercer Soho Residences, New York, USA
Euralille, Lille, France
Gasometer, Vienna, Austria
Mulhouse - Cité Manifeste, Mulhouse, France
Foundation Cognac-Jay, Rueil Malmaison, France
Aquatic Complex, Le Havre, France
Brembo Technical Center, Bergamo, Italy
Fondation Cartier, Paris, France
Agbar Tower, Barcelona, Spain
La Defense, Paris, France
Andel Building, Prague, Czech Republic
Galleries Lafayette, Berlin, Germany
Technology Center, Wismar, Germany
Arab World Institute, France
Guthrie Theater, USA
Law Courts, France
Expo 02, Switzerland
Culture and Convention Center, Lucern, Switzerland
Reina Sofia Museum Extension, Madrid, Spain
Dubai Opera House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Copenhagen Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark