Jean Nouvel started working in architecture before finishing his studies at the Fine Arts Academy in Paris. He began studying painting but the precarious situation at the time made him change his mind and lead his steps to architecture, thinking -why not- about a more profitable career in the future. We don´t know if he had become a great painter or not but there´s no doubt he succeeded in the change since he has reached the top status of world architecture and has got the most prestigious awards, like the Pritzker Prize 2008.
He worked associated to other architects for some years until the creation of his own studio in 1994. At the beginning he didn’t achieve any important project despite the fact that he compeeted in every tender, he was finalist but he didn’t obtain a worthy project until the beginning of the 80’s.
Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris
It was in 1982 when his luck definitely changed. During the development of new President François Mitterrand’s big constructions, Jean Nouvel won the tender for the construction of L’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, project that launched him to the highest in the worldwide architecture’s elite. Jean Nouvel had finally turned into the fashionable architect.
Slideshows of high end wood architecture by Ruarte Contract
Click on the picture to see coffered ceilings
Click on the picture to see staircases
Then came a bunch of projects for famous Jean Nouvel, some of great magnitude such as Paris Biennale, the Tokyo Opera House or the Tour Sans Fins, a needle-shaped building over 400 meters high. But this spell of good luck was cut short by the crisis that Europe suffered at the end of the 80’s and that would unfortunately ruin part of his projects. Once the crisis was over, a decade later, he began to chain a series of projects such as the renewal of the Lyon Opera House or the shopping center Euralille. Projects that confirmed him as one of the most innovative architects at the end of 20th century.
Opera House, Tokyo
Renewal of the Opera House, Lyon
Mall center in Euralille
One of the countries lately more receptive to Nouvel´s works is Spain, where he won the tender to develop the extension of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid in 1999, and a couple of years later, he got the allocation of Torre Agbar, an impressive skyscraper that changes from one color to another depending on the light intensity and raises 142 meters high over Barcelona skyline.
Night view of the the Agbar Tower, Barcelona
Reina Sofia Art Museum, Madrid
For Nouvel, architecture is an act of transformation, you have to leave out all that nature has in order to invent the answer to the opportunity. His buildings are known because of his structural originality and for the juncture that makes with the cultural and space environment.