Gallery: Jean Nouvel Wins the 2008 Pritzker Prize


Groundreaking architect Jean Nouvel has inspired and influenced international architecture (and many of us here at Inhabitat) for over three decades with creative interpretations of culture, location, program and client that have resulted in some of the world’s most unforgettable structures. In recognition of his abundant career and persistent imagination, he has been chosen as the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Laureate, the world’s highest architecture honor.

Nouvel’s work can be seen throughout the world, including the United States, Malaysia, China, Japan, Korea, United Arab Emirates, Israel and with a large concentration of buildings in his home country of France. It was his Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, France, which first gained critical acclaim. A highly technical structure with an integrated and automated light-sensitive mechanical façade, the Arab World Institute defined Nouvel’s ability to fuse a traditional aesthetic with contemporary considerations.

In Nouvel’s designs, different approaches to light, layers and transparency recur, both driven by the context of the landscapes they occupy – whether urban or rural – and transforming the surrounding environment, the sense of place and the experience of the visitor. For instance, Nouvel’s Musée du quai Branly, in Paris, with vertical hanging gardens by Patrick Blanc, never ceases to amaze and engage.

The Pritzker jury, which included renowned architects Tadao Ando and Renzo Piano among others, said of Nouvel:

Of the many phrases that may 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. For over 30 years, Nouvel has pushed architecture’s discourse and practice to new limits. His inquisitive and agile mind propels him to take great risks in each of his projects, which, regardless of varying degrees of success, have greatly expanded the vocabulary of contemporary architecture.

With the 2008 Pritzker, Jean Nouvel joins architects Richard Rogers, Philip Johnson, Tadao Ando, IM Pei, Paolo Mendes De Rocha, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid among the world’s most distinguished architects. A ceremony in his honor will be held June 2, 2008, in Washington, D.C., where Nouvel will receive a bronze medallion and a $100,000 grant from the Pritzker Architecture Prize, established by The Hyatt Foundation.

+ Pritzker Prize
+ Jean Nouvel

+ Pritzker Prize 2007: Richard Rogers

+ Pritzker Prize 2006: Paolo Mendes De Rocha


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  1. liebana June 8, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    The new wing of the Reina Sofia Museum(Madrid) is also spectacular.

  2. polaris kyo April 4, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Very brilliant architecture! An award well deserved… 0_o

  3. Inhabitat » The N... April 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    […] is not often that an architecture master reinvents himself, but that is precisely what Pritzker Prize winning architect Frank Gehry has done. Gehry, who first won international recognition with his own […]

  4. hugo April 1, 2008 at 3:29 am

    Hey Jill,

    I very much agree with you. Maybe I was a bit too fast in commenting. Though I like Inhabitat also as a handbook I can use for my own work and projects.

    Thanks for sharing, love your blog!

  5. organicgrid April 1, 2008 at 2:15 am

    He has some interesting work, sorry I am just not feeling his overall design sensibility.

  6. Husmusen March 31, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Just wanted to let you know I love this blog. You can find so much inspiration and information here and I share the link to all people I know who enjoy the same eco friendly interest for design!

  7. Jill Fehrenbacher March 31, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Hi Hugo-

    I think you would probably agree that Jean Nouvel’s work is thoughtful, innovative and ‘future-forward’ – and therefore it is of interest to us here at Inhabitat. Architectural experiments with light, green walls, and living systems certainly have an application for sustainable design, whether or not Nouvel’s work is designed to achieve LEED certification. Inhabitat is not simply a handbook on green building and passive design strategies, but instead it is a forum about future-forward design that has the potential to improve our world. Thus, I think Nouvel’s work fits handily into the focus and mission of our website.

    Thanks for reading!

    Best wishes-


  8. hugo March 31, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Jean Nouvel realy deserves this price for his contribution to the world of architecture. Some very nice projects are from his hand. With great visions and ideas he changed the aspect of some of the worlds greatest sites, especially Paris, from where I know his work.

    But, as green as some of his buildings look, they were never designed to be green. Therefor I don’t know the purpose of this post here.

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