France’s Jean Nouvel wins Pritzker Prize

The designer of a soaring, glass-shelled condo planned for Century City is the winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor.

French architect Jean Nouvel is singled out in the Prizker jury citation for his “persistence, imagination, exuberance, and, above all, an insatiable urge for creative experimentation.”

Nouvel is the architect behind Paris’ Arab World Institute and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

In nearly four decades, Nouvel has designed more than 200 projects in his native France, around Europe, in Asia and the United States, fighting what he calls “generic architecture.”

“His inquisitive and agile mind propels him to take risks in each of his projects, which, regardless of varying degrees of success, have greatly expanded the vocabulary of contemporary architecture,” the jury said in its citation.

Nouvel, 62, said he was surprised at winning this year since he is not inaugurating any major work, but felt “very honored” to join the elite group of 32 Pritzker laureates. He is the second French architect to win the prize.

“I am very happy to be in a club of good friends, like Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid,” Nouvel told Reuters by telephone from Paris.

In the works for the architect is a nearly Chrysler Building-sized tower next to New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The project in Century City will display verdant gardens visible behind its glass walls

Nouvel says for him, “every project is an adventure.”

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