Christian de Portzamparc, born in Casablanca in 1944, is an architect and urban planner. He graduated from the Paris School of Fine Arts in 1969 and set up his agency, the Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, in 1980. Based in Paris, France, the Atelier is a global operation with a close-knit team of 100 employees who enjoy positive working relationships with established partners around the world. Organized into several “studios”, they work with partners on a wide variety of ambitious international projects. As well as constructing buildings, Christian de Portzamparc, an architect, urban planner and painter, is engaged in the search for form and meaning.
From the city to the object, Christian de Portzamparc has worked on towers since his first projects in 1974. His best known tower is the LVMH Tower in New York, USA, completed in 1999 (Business Week and Architectural Record award 2006), followed by the competition for the Hearst tower in 2000 and soon to be accompanied by the residential tower 400 Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York, USA, approved by the City Planning authorities in 2004 and for which the site demolition started in December 2011. The 603-feet high headquarters of French bank Société Générale at La Défense district in Paris, the Granite Tower (completed in 2008) is the first sustainable high-rise building in France (H.E.Q. certified, the French equivalent of the North American LEED).
In 1994, Christian de Portzamparc became the first French architect to gain the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize at the age of 50. He has been made Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite and Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur, and was awarded the Grand Prix d’Architecture de la Ville de Paris in 1990, the Médaille d’Argent in 1992 and the Grand Prix National d’Architecture in 1998. He has also been appointed an Honorory Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.). The most prestigious city planning prize in France, Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme, was awarded to him in 2004. In 2006, the Collège de France created a 53rd chair dedicated to “artistic creation”, Christian de Portzamparc was its first holder.
Fujiko Nakaya was born in Sapporo, Japan in 1933. Her father, Ukichiro Nakaya, a physicist credited with making the first artificial snowflakes, had an impact on her work and, as a young art student, she became interested in working with cloud-like forms. In 1970, at the World Expo in Osaka, Japan, Nakaya created the world’s first fog sculpture when she enveloped the Pepsi Pavilion in a vaporous mist, in collaboration with the legendary artist collaborative Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.).
Nakaya has created fog installations around the world, including projects for the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; the Grand Palais, Paris; the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; and the Exploratorium, San Francisco, among others. She consulted with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro on the Blur Building for the 2002 Swiss Expo, and has worked with numerous artists (including Trisha Brown, David Tudor, and Bill Viola) on environments for music and performance. This will be her first large-scale installation on the east coast of the United States and the first time her work has been presented at an internationally renowned historic site.