Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel is a French architect. Nouvel studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l’Architecture. He has obtained several prestigious distinctions throughout his career, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for Institut du Monde Arabe which was designed by Nouvel, the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005 and the Pritzker Prize in 2008. Many museums and architectural centres have presented retrospectives of his work.

Nouvel was born in Fumel, France, on 12 August 1945, He is the son of Renée and Roger Nouvel they were teachers. His family moved often when his father became the county’s chief school administrator. His parents encouraged Nouvel to study mathematics and language, but when he was 16 years old he was fascinated by art when a teacher taught him drawing. Although he later said he thought that his parents were guiding him to pursue a career in education or engineering, the family reached a settlement that he could study architecture which they thought was less risky than art.

When Nouvel failed an entrance examination at the École des Beaux-Arts of Bordeaux, he moved to Paris where he won first prize in a national competition to attend the École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.

Nouvel worked as an assistant for architects Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, from 1967 to 1970, after one year he made him project manager in charge of building a large apartment complex.

By age 25, Nouvel completed school and entered into his partnership with François Seigneur. Parents sent them work and gave Nouvel a valuable guide to the chairperson of the seventh edition of the Biennale de Paris in that period of fifteen years, Nouvel designed exhibits and made contacts in the arts and theatre.