Jean Nouvel
I believe the architect is a man who says something
Keith H. Walker + Charlotte Huisman, April 7, 2008
Jean Nouvel_Louvre_Abu Dhabi
Jean Nouvel_Louvre_Abu Dhabi
Nouvel was born in Fumel in southwestern France in 1945, the son of Roger Nouvel, a history teacher who went on to become the chief county school superintendent, and Renée Nouvel, a high school English teacher. His father’s duties in administration required them to move around frequently, and by the time Jean was eight, they moved to Sarlat, a place Nouvel characterizes as a “medieval town with a lot of architecture.” In those years, he confesses he often slipped out to go to the cinema, an influence that would become important in later years. He was sixteen before one of his professors taught him to draw and truly introduced him to the arts. Up to that time, his parents had placed great emphasis on mathematics and languages. He feels that they were steering him toward a career in education or engineering. When he told them he would like to attend the Beaux Arts school, they objected.  A compromise was reached that he would study architecture because being an artist was too risky. Although he failed an entry exam for a school in Bordeaux, when he was twenty, he went to Paris and won first prize in a national competition to attend Beaux Arts there. To earn money while going to school, he took a job in the architecture practice of Claude Parent and Paul Virilio. After being with them for only a year, he was made project manager for an eighty unit apartment complex. By the time he was 25, he had finished school and had his own office in partnership with François Seigneur. Nouvel credits Parent with guiding jobs to his fledgling office, and perhaps even more importantly, with recommending him for the job of director of the Paris Biennale, which allowed Nouvel to design exhibits for some fifteen years, and make many contacts in the art and theater worlds.

Jean Nouvel_Tour Abu-Dhabi
Jean Nouvel_Tour Abu-Dhabi
Jean Nouvel_19th, New York
Jean Nouvel_19th, New York
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