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Jean Nouvel
I believe the architect is a man who says something
Keith H. Walker + Charlotte Huisman, April 7, 2008
Jean Nouvel_Philharmonique de Paris
Jean Nouvel_Philharmonique de Paris
 
He is not interested in a unified approach or accepted typologies. He likes ruptures of scale and form that move the viewer from one aesthetic sensibility to another. “I am glad if a project can be ten thousand projects simultaneously,” Nouvel has said. The manipulation of light and of layers of transparency and opacity are recurring themes in Nouvel’s work. His Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute), built in Paris 1987, was designed with adjustable metal lenses embedded in its south-facing glass façade to control light to the interior, a modern twist on traditional Arab latticework. His Tour Sans Fins (Endless Tower) was selected as the winning entry of a 1989 competition to construct a skyscraper in the La Defense area near Paris. More important than the height of the proposed 400 - meterhigh structure, intended, at the time, to be the tallest tower in Europe, was the building’s skin, which changed materials as it progressed upward - from granite to aluminum to stainless steel to glass -becoming increasingly diaphanous before disappearing into the sky. Here, as with the KKL Luzern (Cultural and Conference Center) of 2000 in Lucerne and the Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain (Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art) of 1994 in Paris, dematerialization is made palpable.

Jean Nouvel_Institut du Monde Arabe_Paris
Jean Nouvel_Institut du Monde Arabe_Paris
 
Jean Nouvel_53 West 53rd Street, New York
Jean Nouvel_53 West 53rd Street, New York
 
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