France's Nouvel awarded 'architecture's Nobel'

31st March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Frenchman Jean Nouvel was named here Sunday as the winner of the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

   LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2008 - Frenchman Jean Nouvel was named here
Sunday as the winner of the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the industry's 
most prestigious annual award.
   Nouvel, 62, will receive his honor -- often described as the "Nobel Prize
of Architecture" -- and a 100,000-dollar grant at a ceremony in Washington on
June 2, the Los Angeles-based Hyatt Foundation announced.
   Foundation chairman Thomas Pritzker said the jury had rewarded Nouvel's
"courageous pursuit of new ideas and his challenge of accepted norms in order
to stretch the boundaries of the field."
   "The jury acknowledged the 'persistence, imagination, exuberance, and,
above all, an insatiable urge for creative experimentation' as qualities
abundant in Nouvel's work," he said.
   Nouvel said in the statement that his work sought to reflect "the modernity
of our epoch as opposed to the rethinking of historical references."
   "My work deals with what is happening now -- our techniques and materials,
what we are capable of doing today," he said.
   Nouvel is best known as the architect behind the Arab World Institute in
Paris, which opened in 1987 after being commissioned by former French
President Francois Mitterand.
   The building is notable for its clever use of natural light. Adjustable
metal lenses are embedded in one of the building's facades to control the
amount of light allowed to the interior of the building.
   Pritzker Prize jury chairman Peter Palumbo said Nouvel "had pushed himself,
as well as those around him, to consider new approaches to conventional
architectural problems."
   Although the bulk of his work is in France, Nouvel has designed projects
all over the world, including Japan, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Austria,
Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and the United States.
   Nouvel is only the second architect from France to be honored with the
Pritzker. Christian de Portzamparc won the award in 1994.


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