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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Architecture: Eclecticist Jean Nouvel Plucks Prestigious Pritzker Prize

Nouvel's proposal for a tower in New York on 53rd Street has been approved by the Museum of Modern Art, which jointly controls the use of the property.

By Noah Mallin

French Architect Jean Nouvel has bagged this year's Pritzker Prize, given out annually by a special jury to a living architect. Though he is best known for work throughout Europe, his Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis is amongst his finest. Nouvel first made his mark in Paris however with his work to help rejuvenate the ancient market district known as Les Halles and the fantastical Institut du Monde Arabe building (see below) , completed in 1987 and fitted with intricate and fascinating window designs.

His recent plan for the port of Vigo in Spain includes a stylized granite monolith the size of a small office building at the end of the main pier (see below):

His design for the Guthrie Theater (2006) (below) shows his disdain for a "signature style", instead choosing to shape each project for its use and its surroundings. This is not to say that he attempts to blend them in like a chameleon. In fact he often seems to employ contrast both within his designs and with their nearby buildings and physical locale.

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