by , 07/11/05
filed under: Architecture, Events, News


“Each new situation requires a new architecture.” Jean Nouvel

French new wave architect Jean Nouvel is probably most famous for his L’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Seeing that building at age 19 was one of the catalysts that inspired me to go into design. For fans of Jean Nouvel, I’ve just discovered that the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark is currently housing an exhibition of the architect’s philosophy on life and design, entitled The Louisiana Manifesto.

Jean Nouvel attaches great importance to design that is in harmony with its surroundings, and his aim is to ensure that his architecture merges with the spirit of the place. In the Louisiana manifesto, he rails against the horrors of what he calls ‘generic architecture’, and crusades for the type of site specificity and unique context that the Louisiana Museum employs in its design.

The exhibit will be running until the 18th of September, so catch it while you can.

An excerpt from the Louisiana Manifesto:

From now on, let architecture rediscover its aura in the inexpressible, in the cloudy. In the imperfection of what is invented! The architect is not aware of having come to the end of his work until he slips and slides from creation to modification, from assertion to allusion, from building-up to filling-in, from construction to infiltration, from imposition to superimposition, from the neat to the nebulous, from addition to deviation, from calligraphy to etching, to erasure …

Instead of the archaic architectural goal of domination, of making a permanent mark, today we should prefer to seek the pleasure of living somewhere.

Let us remember that architecture can also be an instrument of oppression, a tool for conditioning behaviour.

Let us never permit anyone to censure this pursuit of pleasure, especially in the domain of the familiar and intimate that is so necessary to our wellbeing.

Let us identify ourselves.

Everyone bears a potential world within himself or herself.

Let us be aware of our potential, which is equal to that of any human being ? largely unexplored, often poetic, therefore disquieting.

No more corsets, no more ready-to-wear lives!
No more architecture-by-numbers that turns us into numbers!
No more cloned cities, global offices, pre-occupied homes!
We want to be able to keep on travelling,
to listen to spontaneous music,
to live in landscapes as inhabited as a personality,
to meet men and women who invent their own culture,
to discover unknown colours.

Via WorldChanging and

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  1. Inhabitat » Jean ... March 31, 2008 at 9:20 am

    […] 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, […]

  2. JJ July 26, 2005 at 5:40 pm


    I went to the exhibition a few weeks ago. Really interesting because the architecture of Louisiania examplifies so well Nouvel’s idea on architecture. The building merges with the amazing garden and embraces the sea shore. If you are lucky and get the sun, it’s a trully unique atmosphere that no other museum offers. A very approriate place to discuss architecture.
    Don’t expect to see many models though. Nouvel don’t work that much with them so everything is mainly computer based. Plus some very interesting interviews where he explains his thoughts.

  3. Alex July 14, 2005 at 12:59 am

    This man sounds like he took more than a few pages of thought from Frank Lloyd Wright.

    “Jean Nouvel attaches great importance to design that is in harmony with its surroundings, and his aim is to ensure that his architecture merges with the spirit of the place”

    I wish more architects thought this way. Wright was a genius.

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