Jean Nouvel is a French architect and planner. He trained at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and has headed his own architectural practice since 1970. His current firm, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, is one of the largest architectural practices in France, active in the fields of architecture, urban design, landscape design as well as industrial design and interior design.
Among Mr. Nouvel's principal completed buildings are the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Lyon Opera House, the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Galeries Lafayette in Berlin, the Dentsu Tower in Tokyo, the museum of archaeology in Périgueux, the Quai Branly museum in Paris, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Richemont Corporation headquarters in Geneva, the Symphonic House in Copenhagen and an apartment building 40 Mercer Street in New York, and the Doha Tower, shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 13th cycle). Projects currently under study or construction at Ateliers Jean Nouvel include the city hall in Montpellier, a office building in the City of London, the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, the Philharmonic Hall in Paris and the Tour de Verre in New York.
Mr. Nouvel's work has been widely published and exhibited, and his many honours and awards include the Pritzker Prize in 2008, the Gold Medal of the French Academy of Architecture, the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, honorary fellowships in the AIA, France's National Grand Prize for Architecture, Italy's Borromini Prize for the Lucerne Culture and Congress Center, Japan's Praemium Imperial Career Prize, the Wolf Prize and the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in architecture. Mr. Nouvel was the recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989 for the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.
Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989.
This center of Arab culture occupies a beautiful site on the left bank of the Seine, facing the Ile St-Louis from the riverside edge of the University of Paris. The building consists of a museum, a library, an auditorium, offices and meeting rooms assembled within two wings separated by a courtyard opening out toward the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The translucent marble façade of the seven-storey northern wing is elegantly curved to follow the sweep of the quay. At the west end of this wing is the 100'000 volume library, a spiral tower of books behind a transparent wall of glass offering panoramic views. The principal façade of the eleven-storey southern wing consists of 113 photosensitive panels that operate like a camera's diaphragm opening and closing to control the intensity of light in the interior. The jury, while acknowledging that the building is "not successful in all aspects of its design and at times overly complex to use with ease and comfort," found much to commend in its role as "a successful bridge between French and Arab cultures."