Nouvel, Jean (zhäN nōvĕlˈ) [key], 1945–, French architect, grad. École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1971). He opened his own firm in 1975, and became known for innovative techniques and use of modern materials and for eschewing a signature style and letting the site, intended use, cultural background, and other factors dictate the nature of his buildings. Nouvel achieved international recognition for his Arab World Institute, Paris (1987), with its curving etched glass wall and a facade with automated light-adjusting, aluminum-enclosed lenses arranged in patterns that recall Arab grillework. Other examples of the prolific architect's buildings include the Fondation Cartier, Paris (1994), a modernist steel-and-glass rectangle; the cantilevered Culture and Congress Center, Lucerne (1999); the Dentsu Building, Tokyo (2002), a knife-edged high-rise; the candy-hued, aggressively vertical Agbar Tower, Barcelona (2005); the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis (2006), composed of piled, boxy shapes clad in deep blue metal; and the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris (2006), with its strange angles, long glass wall, and vividly colored components. Nouvel was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2008.
See studies by O. Boissière (1996) and C. L. Morgan (1998); P. Jodidio, ed., Jean Nouvel by Jean Nouvel: Complete Works 1970–2008 (2 vol., 2009).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.