10 Jean Nouvel Buildings We Love

10 Jean Nouvel Buildings We Love

By Byron Loker
French Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel is credited by the New York Times in a profile piece as "exceptionally good at allowing a building to take on a personality of its own."

Sometimes controversially received, Nouvel's intentions with his buildings—in his own words—is to access "...the poétique of the situation. I am a hedonist, and I want to give pleasure to other people." Here is a sample of some of the 71-year-old architect's most influential designs throughout his illustrious career.

Torre Agbar (2004)

Barcelona, Spain

Inspired by the shape of a geyser rising into the air, as well as Montserrat, a mountain range near Barcelona, Torre Agbar is the headquarters of Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar), Spain's municipal water company.

Arab World Institute (1987)

Paris, France

Opened in 1987, Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe is made up of light-sensitive apertures that are inspired by traditional oriel windows—or enclosed balconies—which are used in Islamic architecture.

100 Eleventh Avenue (2010)

New York, New York

Jean Nouvel called this 23-story residential tower a "vision machine." Each windowpane rests inside a series of "mega-panels" that are tilted at different angles, offering slightly different degrees of transparency.

Opéra Nouvel (1993)

Lyon, France

Nouvel won a competition that let to him renovating the original opera house. Melding both the past and present, his project increased interior space, added an underground practice hall, and doubled the building's height with a steel-and-glass vault.

Copenhagen Concert Hall (2009)

Copenhagen, Denmark

Known for its amazing acoustics, this venue was named one of the 10 greatest concert halls of the new millennium by Gramophone magazine. Nouvel worked with Japanese acoustic specialist Yasuhisa Toyota to achieve this.

Building C1

Bolougne Billancourt, France

Situated on the Seine river, Building C1 houses shops and offices with rooftop terraces and gardens. Planted esplanades and high terraces give the impression of a green island, while a retractable panel at the top of the structure extends to cover the rooftop garden.

Central Park Sydney

Sydney, Australia

Situated on the site of a once derelict brewery, this residential tower is the centerpiece of a masterplan to revitalize downtown Sydney. The cantilevered reflector lends light to shaded areas below.

Philharmonie de Paris (2015)

Paris, France

The Philharmonie de Paris, located in the Parc de La Villette, arrived amid much controversy, given that it was two-years late and three-times over budget. It consists of bird-shaped tiles that are interlocked and spread across the building's facade.

Cyprus Tower (2015)

Nicosia, Cyprus

As with many of Nouvel's designs, Cyprus Tower, a high-rise building located in the center of Nicosia, is ready-made with sprouts of greenery. Landscaping covers 80 percent of the building's southern facade.

Rosewood Tower

São Paulo, Brazil

Planned to open in 2020, this luxury hotel will be adjoined to a former maternity hospital. The tower will be covered with greenery and filled with interiors designed by Philippe Starck.


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