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.