Jean Nouvel, (born August 12, 1945) is a French architect. Nouvel studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l'Architecture. He has obtained a number of prestigious distinctions over the course of his career, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (technically, the prize was awarded for the Institut du Monde Arabe which Nouvel designed), the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005 and the Pritzker Prize in 2008.
Nouvel was awarded the Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honour, in 2008, for his work on more than 200 projects, among them, in the words of The New York Times, the "exotically louvered" Arab World Institute, the bullet-shaped and "candy-colored" Torre Agbar in Barcelona, the "muscular" Guthrie Theater with its cantilevered bridge in Minneapolis, and in Paris, the "defiant, mysterious and wildly eccentric" Musée du quai Branly (2006) and the Philharmonie de Paris (a "trip into the unknown" c. 2012).
Pritzker points to several more major works: in Europe, the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art (1994), the Culture and Convention Center in Lucerne (2000), the Opéra Nouvel in Lyon (1993) , Expo 2002 in Switzerland and, under construction, the Copenhagen Concert Hall and the courthouse in Nantes (2000); as well as two tall towers in planning in North America, Tour Verre in New York City and a cancelled condominium tower in Los Angeles. International cultural projects such as the Abu Dhabi Louvre, the Philharmonic Hall in Paris, the Qatar National Museum in Doha, or the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2010 in London.
In its citation, the jury of the Pritzker prize noted:
Of the many phrases that might be used to describe the career of architect Jean Nouvel, foremost are those that emphasize his courageous pursuit of new ideas and his challenge of accepted norms in order to stretch the boundaries of the field. [...] The jury acknowledged the ‘persistence, imagination, exuberance, and, above all, an insatiable urge for creative experimentation’ as qualities abundant in Nouvel’s work.
Among his principal completed projects, we find the Arab World Institute in Paris, the Cartier Foundation and the Quai Branly museum in Paris, the Culture and Congress Center KKL in Lucerne, the extension of the Queen Sofia Arts Center in Madrid, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Philharmonic of Paris…
Among the projects currently under studies or under construction: the “53W53, Tour de Verre” integrating the extension of the MoMA galleries in New York, the residential towers “Le Nouvel” in Kuala Lumpur, “Anderson 18” and “Ardmore” in Singapore and “Rosewood” in São Paulo, the office towers “Hekla” and “Duo” in Paris, the cultural complex “The Artists’ Garden” in Qingdao or the National Art Museum of China NAMOC in Beijing… The design of the Louvre Abu Dhabi began in 2006 with Jean Nouvel’s Partner Architect Hala Wardé.