Jean Nouvel (born 12 August 1945) is a French architect. Jean studied at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de I’Architecture. He has obtained lots of prestigious distinctions over the course of Nouvel career, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the wolf prize in Arts in 2005 and the Pritzker Prize in 2008. A number of museum and architectural centers have presented retrospectives of his work.
Jean was born on 12 August 1945 in Fumel, France. He is the son of teacher Renee and Roger Nouvel. His family moved when his father became the country’s chief school superintendent. His parents encouraged him to study mathematics and different language, but at the age of 16 years old, he was captivated by art when a teacher taught him drawing. Although he later said that he thought that his parents were guiding him to pursue a career in education or engineering. Later, the family reached a compromise that Nouvel could study architecture which they thought it was less risky than art.
When he was failed in entrance examination at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, then Nouvel moved to Paris, where he won first prize in a national competition to attend the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts. Nouvel earned his income as an assistant to architects Claude Parent and Paul Virilio between 1967 to 1970, who after only one year, made him a project manager in charge of building a large apartment complex.
Nouvel married to a filmmaker Odile Fillion and they have two sons, Bertrand, who is a post-doctorate computer scientist working at Mindstorm Multitouch in London, and Pierre, who is a theater producer and designer at his company, Factoid. Nouvel with his second wife Catherine Richard, he has a daughter Sarah. He lives now with Mi Hagg, who is a Swedish architect working at her practice Habiter Autrement in Paris.
At the age of 25, Jean Nouvel completed school and entered into his own partnership with Francois Seigneur. Parents gave Nouvel a valuable recommendation to the chairperson for the seventh edition of the Biennale de Paris where for fifteen years, Nouvel designed exhibits and made contacts in the arts and theater.
Early in his career, he becomes a key participant in intellectual debates about architecture in France: he co-founded the Mars 1976, a year later, the Syndicat de I’Architecture. Nouvel was one of the chief of the rivalry for the rejuvenation of the Les Halles district in 1977 and he was founded the first Paris architecture Biennale in 1980.
Nouvel was designed competition for the Institut du Monde Arabe, building in Paris, in 1981 whose
construction was complete in 1987 and brought Nouvel international frame. Mechanical lenses reminiscent of Arabic latticework in its South wall open and shut automatically, controlling interior lighting, photoelectric cells respond to exterior light levels.
Between 1972 and 1984, Nouvel has three different partners: Jean-Francois Guyot, Gilbert Lezenes, and Pierre Soria. In 1985, with his junior architects Emmanuel Blamont and Mirto Vitart, he founded Jean Nouvel Associates. Then, with Emmanuel Gattani, he formed JNEC in 1988.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel, a present practice was formed in 1994 with Michel Pelissie and is one of the Largest in France, with 140 people in the main office in Paris. They are working on 30 active projects in 13 countries. Nouvel designed a flacon for L’Homme, a Yves Saint Laurent Fragrance, in a limited edition launched in 2008.
Jean Nouvel has designed a number of buildings across the world. At the part of the announcement of Nouvel’s Pritzker Prize, the Hyatt Foundation, which awards the Prize, published a full list of Nouvel architectural work including project construction and design for which construction has yet to start.
• 2001 – Golden Angel, Prague, Czech Republic
• 2002 – Monolith of Expo.02, Murten in Switzerland
• 2004 – Museum Two, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
• 2005 – Reina Sof?a Museum expansion, Madrid, Spain
• 2006 – Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France
• 2012 – City Hall, Montpellier
• 2015 – Philharmonie de Paris, Paris.
• The Louvre announced it would build a Louvre branch in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in March 2007, on Saadiyat Island. Nouvel was chosen as an architect. The museum was expected to be completed by 2012, though completion got delayed.
• Hines commissioned Nouvel to build a new 75-story tower in November 2006, named first the Tour de Verre, later to become 53W53, next to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan. The tower will house a hotel, luxury apartments, and three floors will be used by MoMA to expand its exhibition space.
The tower has ignited a controversy in New York City, to the tower, and Community Board has 5 rejected project.
• The Tour Sans Fins at La Défense, France. In 1989 Nouvel’s winning design, recommend as Europe’s tallest building, was to change ground up from granite, stainless steel and finally glass—”increasingly diaphanous before disappearing in the sky”.
• In 2003 the Carnegie Science Center addition by Nouvel in Pittsburgh was never realized. Nouvel’s winning design ended up and his contract was terminated by the Carnegie Science Center.
Awards and Honors
• The Royal College of Art, London (2002), Honorary degrees from the University of Buenos Aires (1983), and the University of Naples (2002).
• The Royal Institute of British Architects (1995).
• Pritzker Prize in 2008
• 2010 Wallpaper Design Award, Best new public house category for Copenhagen Concert Hall
• Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in 2005.
• Honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects (1993)