Jean Nouvel

A renowned French architect, Jean Nouvel built gorgeous buildings all over the world, obtaining several prestigious awards.

Jean Nouvel
Jean Nouvel

Image source: by StoffeliX

100 Eleventh Ave
100 Eleventh Ave, New York City-Jean Nouvel, 2010.

Image source: by o palsson

Life and awards

Born in Fumel in 1945 and having studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, French architect Jean Nouvel would go on to enstablish himself as central figure of intellectual debate in France over architecture; his prestige led to being a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l’Architecture alike. Many exhibitions of his work have been held all over the world from New York to Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, as well as a restrospective in Centre Pompidou in 2001. His prolific career did not go unobserved, and over the years led to numerous awards,  including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005 and the Pritzker Prize in 2008.

Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris
Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris

Image source: by Hermann Wendler,

Major works

The first important commission was a surgical clinic outside Paris. His design for the boarding school in Antony (1980) reveals a notable provocative style, at a time when he was one of the founders of the Syndicat de l’architecture. However, Nouvel would eventually reach international renown with his project Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris (1981-1987, realized in association with Architecture Studio); this was no coincidence, as Nouvel’s “avant-garde project” (as the Institut was defined) came a at a time of great ferment in architecture, as during this time sitting president Mitterand had began commissioning numerous large-scale projects; Nouvel’s building adopts numerous novel solutions, including an unusual knife-like shape, having light project onto the southern façade utilizing photo-electric cells, and splitting of the building in two separate sections, leading the design to become a classic of its kind.

Institut du Monde Arabe
Institut du Monde Arabe, Jean Nouvel, 1981-1987, Paris

Image source: by AndyRobertsPhotos

Some of the most significant works of Jean Nouvel are: one of the three buildings that constitute Seoul’s Leeum Museum (2004), Barcelona’s bullet-shaped Agbar Tower (2005), the Guthrie Theater (2006) located in Minneapolis, the Parisian Quai Branly Museum (2006) and Copenhagen’s Concert Hall (2009), characterized by bright blue exterior walls, acting at night as a video screen. Nouvel’s vast production also includes residential projects (such as Némausus Housing in Nîmes).

Agbar Tower
Agbar Tower (2005)-Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Image source: by Fraser Mummery

Copenhagen Concert Hall
Copenhagen Concert Hall, Jean Nouvel, 2009, Copenhagen

Image source: by seier+seier

Danish Radio Concert Hall
Jean Nouvel, Danish Radio Concert Hall, 2002-2009-Copenhagen, Denmark

Image source: by seier+seier

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