The opening of the Jean Nouvel–designed National Museum of Qatar, in Doha, Qatar, marks another step in the country’s mission to set itself apart from its neighbors and solidify its cultural position in the world. For one to understand the motivations behind the design and construction of the newly opened National Museum, one must first understand a bit about the geopolitical context that it has been built in. Like many of its neighbors in the Persian Gulf region, Qatar has been building at a pace and level of quality that is nearly unmatched in the world. Yet, unlike the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar is not building to attract tourists or even business interests. Since 1971, when Qatar gained its full independence from the British, it has worked to distinguish itself as a fully autonomous nation. The intensity of this drive has been amplified in the past few years by a series of events and political upheavals that have isolated the small country. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed economic and political embargoes on Qatar after years of growing tension over international trade and other international relations. In an act of defiance, Qatar countered by leaving the Gulf Region’s oil cartel, OPEC. These events have led to stronger internal support for Qatar’s ruling emir, who has taken a hard line with the blockading neighbors, and solidified the country’s resolve to stand culturally and economically independent from the region. The National Museum is designed and programmed specifically to display the country’s unique culture and history to international visitors and, perhaps more importantly, to Qataris. Broadly covering the nation’s natural and political history, exhibitions reach back tens of thousands of years through the discovery of oil and natural gas off the coast in the mid-20th century to explore what it means to be Qatari. Perhaps ironically though, Qataris only make up around 12 percent of Qatar’s of 2.7 million residents. The rest are foreigners, most of which are migrant service and construction workers. It remains to be seen whether a forthcoming planned gallery covering the country’s current events will highlight the immense contribution of migrants to the past decade of development. Notably, Qatar has been criticized for the use of underpaid labor and unsafe construction practices, particularly pertaining to the many 2022 World Cup stadiums currently under construction. Recent years have seen laws passed down directly from the emir to protect workers’ rights, and while progress has been made, some human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, say there are still issues to be addressed. Whether one argues the museum’s contents show a complete image of the nation or not, the building itself has a lot to say. Like many “signature” architecture projects, it may be the architecture of museum that will be most memorable for those who visit. A bombastic tour-de-force of engineering and construction, there is little argument about the visual impact of the project as a whole. Unapologetically designed to look like the crystalized mineral formation known as a desert rose, the museum is composed of dozens of large discs. Intersecting at various angles, the discs produce the facade, roof, walls, ceilings, apertures, and structure. Enable by engineering help from Gehry Technologies and ARUP, the geometric theme and is relentlessly executed. One is hard pressed to find any public facing spaces that are not completely shaped by the seemingly random arrangement of discs. There are no columns, no rectilinear apertures, no perpendicular intersections, and no flat ceilings. In many spaces even the floor ramps and bends in a choreographed play with the walls and ceiling. All artifacts and exhibition pieces are shown in the round, while the tilting walls are filled with carefully mapped projections of artist-made films. The effect is quite successful and makes for a strong retort to those who argue that museum walls should always be flat. The museum’s galleries are organized into an irregular crescent, which produces a large Baraha (courtyard) with the help of the 20th-century royal palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, a cultural landmark in its own right. This outdoor room provides a new civic space able to accommodate thousands. This is an important aspect of the project, considering Doha lacks similar spaces, besides the main Souq, over a mile away. The museum’s position near the waterfront is also significant. While still separated by the city’s major traffic artery and a thin waterfront parkway, many of its neighbors are government or administrative buildings, which are cut off from the city by high security fences. In stark contrast to the oft-foreboding nature of the area, the museum’s grounds include large gardens designed by French landscape architect Michel Desvigne, and includes multiple children’s play areas, large desert plantings, and a lagoon complete with a monumental fountain sculpture by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. Despite the formal exuberance, many of the spaces have a similar feel, in part to the limited material, color, and building palette. This is to say, once you have seen part of the project, there are few surprises. The formal complexity does not translate into complexity in plan. For the most part the entire building is one path, even if that path is varied in width and direction. Each gallery intersects with the next with no hard thresholds or transitions. Occasionally, a change in ceiling height or a slant in the floor differentiate one gallery from the next, but overall the experience is generally consistent throughout the project. This is a bit disappointing considering the innumerable possibilities the project’s formal language implies. On the other hand, this may be excusable as the expressed goal of the museum is to present a clear vision of Qatar’s past and present. Though a few more moments of unexpected shortcuts, detours, or unique spaces could have been a pleasant release from the project’s surprisingly simple plan. The few places where relief can be found from the disc organization are in the gift shops, designed by Sydney-based Koichi Takada Architects. Riffing on the theme of desert rock formations, the shops take the shape of the Dahl Al Misfir (Cave of Light), a dramatic cave system in central Qatar. Undulating contoured wood walls push and pull, providing space for lighting and shelving, while the tall spaces reach up to irregularly shaped windows and skylights, mimicking the cave’s dramatic illumination. Takada is also responsible for two cafes and a restaurant in the project that all stick closer to the Nouvel design, while still departing from the strict aesthetics of the galleries. If the intent of the National Museum is to educate the Nation of Qatar and celebrate the work of the Qatari people, the message it sends is one of a proud young nation that is finding its place on the world stage while contending with less than friendly neighbors and has been shaped by a seemingly insatiable appetite for iconic buildings designed by A-list international architects. Along with the Arata Isozaki master-planned Education City, the OMA-designed National Library, and the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, this latest addition to this uncanny desert menagerie raises the bar for civic iconography with its structural and metaphorical gymnastics. For all these reasons the project seems to fit into its context perfectly, and in the same sense could be nowhere else.
Posts tagged with "Jean Nouvel":
A year after the Jean Nouvel–designed Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, a waterfront arts quarter with buildings from big-name architects, things aren’t entirely rosy. The Austrian steel engineering conglomerate Waagner-Biro, responsible for building the intricately latticed, double-layered dome over the museum, has reportedly declared insolvency due to their involvement in the project. Late payments and inflated costs on the approximately $90 million Louvre offshoot have forced Waagner-Biro to sell its subsidiaries in hope of remaining solvent. The 262-foot-wide dome is made up of almost 8,000 interlocking metal octagons, layered over each other in reference to the mashrabiya, a traditional Islamic sunscreen that shades while allowing air to pass through. The museum below the dome is a loose-knit collection of 23 gallery spaces that together form a layout closer to an open-air market typology than a traditional museum space. Nouvel has described the dome as “an oasis of light”—during the day, the sun filters in from above like starlight, and at night, the museum below causes the roof to glow from within. Waagner-Biro began in 1854 as a locksmith but has grown into a major player in architectural steel installation; the company constructed the spiraling roof of the Great Court in London’s British Museum and the dome of the Reichstag in Berlin. Unfortunately, after costs rose during the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome installation, Abu Dhabi refused to pay and forced Waagner-Biro to shoulder the difference. The firm’s daughter company, SBE Alpha AG, was declared insolvent on October 23 of this year and its financial woes have spread to the rest of the 1,300-employee company. Waagner-Biro has already sold its Waagner-Biro Austria Stage Systems AG subsidiary to Austrian entrepreneur Erhard Grossnigg for restructuring; the offshoot has handled stage engineering work at the Sydney Opera House and Berlin’s State Opera House in the past. While it remains to be seen if Waagner-Biro will be able to emerge from insolvency, that hasn’t been the only piece of bad news for the Louvre Abu Dhabi this week. Salvator Mundi, a portrait of Jesus allegedly painted by Leonardo da Vinci and sold for a record-breaking $450 million last November, has reportedly been feared as lost. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman purchased the painting with the intent of displaying it in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but the September 18 unveiling date has passed without a peep from the prince. The fate of Salvator Mundi, whether it will be put on display in the new Louvre, or how it’s being cared for are now only known to the Saudi royal family.
Oil-rich cities of the Persian Gulf that fifty years ago were sleepy fishing and pearling villages have remade themselves into spectacles of architectural pomp in the 21st century as they seek to cement their geopolitical prominence. Cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become synonymous with the decadent post–Guggenheim Bilbao era in which municipalities have used spectacular architecture by brand-name architects to lend their locales international glamour, and the close concentration of rival states in the Persian Gulf has spawned a sort of starchitect arms race, with neighboring cities jockeying for aesthetic supremacy. Pritzker winners like Zaha Hadid have raced to the area to show off the full extent of their talents, despite reports of widespread abuse of construction workers. The National Museum of Qatar, designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, fits squarely in this moment, although it has not been associated with reports of labor abuses. When it opens in March, 2019, it will set a new benchmark for stylistic exuberance in the area. The design, an almost literal translation of desert rose sand formations, is dizzyingly intricate, almost unbelievable in its complexity. Nouvel said of the design in a statement: “Qatar has a deep rapport with the desert, with its flora and fauna, its nomadic people, its long traditions. To fuse these contrasting stories, I needed a symbolic element. Eventually, I remembered the phenomenon of the desert rose: crystalline forms, like miniature architectural events, that emerge from the ground through the work of wind, salt water, and sand." The 430,000-square-foot institution will house displays that tell the story of Qatar's rise from its deep geological history to its cosmopolitan present. Displays will emphasize the power of the Qatari royal family, showing the nation's history culminating "in the very heart of Qatari national identity, the thoroughly restored Palace of Sheikh Abdullah," according to Qatar Museums, the state organization led by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani focused on promoting Qatari culture. Iwan Baan, the photographer-par-excellence of architecture's millennial gilded age, has captured the nearly-completed building in images that testify to the architects' ability to realize the bedeviling design. This is not Nouvel's first foray into the area. His Louvre Abu Dhabi, another daring dish design, opened last year in that United Arab Emirates capital city. Museums by Frank Gehry and Norman Foster were scheduled to join Nouvel's work there, but construction on those projects appears to have been indefinitely delayed. The National Museum of Qatar joins I.M. Pei's Museum of Islamic Art, OMA's Qatar National Library, and Nouvel's own Burj Doha in Doha, Qatar's capital city. The country is in the midst of a construction boom as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
Meet the incubators and accelerators producing the new guard of design and architecture start-ups. This is part of a series profiling incubators and accelerators from our April 2018 Technology issue. Trimble-owned Gehry Technologies (GT) launched a three-month design-and-technology-focused accelerator program called ZeroSixty that is geared toward helping a new generation of innovators revolutionize project delivery across the AEC industry. The accelerator program will help start-ups based out of its Marina del Rey, California, offices to “build and scale” their services by connecting new entrepreneurs with “people, networks, and technologies,” according to the company. The effort is aimed at turning back the increasingly common trend among mega-projects of being over budget and behind schedule. ZeroSixty comes three years after software developer Trimble purchased GT in an effort to integrate and disseminate innovations in technology-driven project delivery across its various platforms. GT was originally founded in 2002 by Frank Gehry and his team at Gehry Partners to adapt techniques from the aerospace and automotive industries and apply them to the firm’s most complex building projects. In the years since, the group has worked on a variety of challenging projects across the world for various high-profile architects, including the Beijing National Stadium with Herzog & de Meuron and the Louvre Abu Dhabi with the Ateliers Jean Nouvel. ZeroSixty was founded by German Aparicio and Lucas Reames, both GT veterans, earlier this year and is currently accepting applications for its first cohort of companies. “The idea is to help entrepreneurs scale their products and services by leveraging our past experiences, field expertise, and client base while continuously seeking to innovate,” Aparicio said. The GT team has always been at the forefront of this niche within the AEC industry, including back in the early 2000s when, working on the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, they were among the first to utilize virtual reality visualizations for on-site construction. Now, Trimble and ZeroSixty seek to build upon this legacy by focusing on new AEC-related applications for emerging technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and data analytics. “These technologies offer the opportunity to provide greater insights using a data-driven approach to project delivery and increase the quality and efficiencies of our industry,” Aparicio explained. With ZeroSixty and its no-equity support for emerging practices, Trimble has its eyes firmly set on building the future. Aparicio added, “These technologies promise to create services on the web that can be used on demand to automate everyday tasks so designers, project managers, contractors, and facility operators can focus on the more interesting or important part of their everyday lives.”
New York-based Gluckman Tang Architects has released their master plan for Western Gateway Heritage State Park (Heritage Park), an integral piece of the larger redevelopment in North Adams, Massachusetts. The proposal links the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the restored waterfront, Main Street, and the site of Frank Gehry's future Extreme Model Railroad Museum (EMRCAM). The project is part of a larger "cultural corridor" that ultimately hopes to bring the Bilbao effect to this corner of Massachusetts. The plan breaks up Heritage Park into three distinct plazas connected by walking paths. Each area revitalizes the historic industrial buildings within while better connecting to other parts of the city. The North Plaza will contain a new amphitheater, while the Central Plaza will hold a grove of birch trees and outdoor seating. The South Plaza will help orient visitors to Gehry's railroad museum. Originally slated for a 14,000-square-foot, 19th century warehouse inside the park, the Gluckman Tang-designed EMRCAM was scrapped for a 75,000-square-foot Gehry design elsewhere. Featuring architectural dioramas by Gehry himself and Zaha Hadid, the new museum will be located across the street from the MASS MoCA. Gluckman Tang will be converting the original park building into a Museum of Time and add another 6,000 square feet, a glazed entryway and a steep butterfly roof. Other than the museum, Gluckman Tang has also proposed converting a 3,250-square-foot coal hopper into a distilling hall, complete with a new 4,000-square-foot retail space and tasting room. “In addition to improving the experience for visitors to North Adams, our master plan will enhance the central role of the city in the Cultural Corridor and its anchor institutions, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) and The Clark Art Institute,” said Gluckman Tang principal Richard Gluckman. One question left unanswered is how Jean Nouvel will factor into the evolution of North Adams. The French architect was reportedly in consideration to master plan the city as of last year, but news of his involvement has been scant since then. Leading the redevelopment initiative and museum complex is Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Foundation. Krens has a storied history with Nouvel, and it seems the architect’s ideas will make it into the master plan in one way or another.
After more than four years of construction, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open to the public on November 11. Images of the ambitious project, spanned by a 262-foot latticed, double-skinned dome, have been released for the first time ahead of the full opening. Joining Frank Gehry’s troubled Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and museum projects by Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and other big name studios, Nouvel’s Louvre is the first completed building on the Saadiyat Island Cultural District. The French architect expressed hope that the museum, sited on the wetland island’s coast, would pay respect to the surrounding environment as well as the cultural history of both France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “The Louvre Abu Dhabi becomes the final destination of an urban promenade, a garden on the coast, a cool haven, a shelter of light during the day and evening, its aesthetic consistent with its role as a sanctuary for the most precious works of art,” said Nouvel. Referencing Arab architectural traditions, the project’s radiating dome is composed of nearly 8,000 interlocking metal octagons layered over each other to form a perforated shading system. Shading visitors during the day and shining from below at night, Nouvel called the roof “an oasis of light.” Protected from the elements, the public spaces below will host a rotating selection of pieces specifically commissioned for the museum. Layering patterned partitions is nothing new for Nouvel, whose Burj Doha in Qatar similarly took advantage of the mashrabiya, an Islamic screen designed to keep occupants cool during the summer months. The galleries themselves are a collection of squat, white cubic volumes with ceiling heights that vary from room to room and an irregularly-spaced paneling design that permeates inside to the display areas. This “museum city” totals 23 gallery spaces across 6,400 square meters (21,000 square feet), as well as a children’s museum, auditorium, restaurant and merchandise shops. The floor tiling calls back to Ottoman-era mosaic design, including a “stone carpet” in one of the gallery spaces. The museum's first exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, will open on December 21st and display 18th century artwork from the opening of the original Musée du Louvre in Paris alongside modern pieces.
Monad Terrace is its name. Jean Nouvel is its claim to fame. Its submerged future is ... quite a shame. After a period of uncertainty, the developers of the Miami Beach tower, New York-based JDS Development, have finally secured the $62.5 million necessary to undertake the project. Now the company has the go-ahead to complete the tower squarely in the middle of one of Miami Beach's most vulnerable flood zones. The Miami Beach tower by Nouvel made a splash last year for the wild and overgrown manmade lagoon at its base. Looking like a modernist structure reclaimed by nature after an environmental disaster à la J.G. Ballard, the structure may well fulfill its own prophecy. JDS' Michael Stern told Curbed Miami that the design "is very conscious of what is going on to changes to the streets and concerns about sea level rise." What this means is that the building will have a below-grade car garage to displace floodwater as well as incorporate landscaping features meant to absorb water, including the lagoon. Ateliers Jean Nouvel stated that the development will be the first condo of its kind to be built surpassing Miami Beach's revised flood regulations, at 11.5 feet above sea level. The interiors are minimalist and luxurious, with marble and oak siding and floor-to-ceiling glass windows boasting expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean. The building's 80 residential units contain terraces framed by draping bougainvillea and passion vine. Beneath the vines, the structure's facade consists of an aluminum honeycomb sawtooth screen designed to diffuse direct sun and create the visual effect of light playing on water. The question now is whether the building's flood alleviation measures will be enough to shield the structure from a Category 5 hurricane. Awareness of Miami's Sisyphean struggles with the rising tide has never been higher, but investment seems to keep pouring in for steel-and-glass boxes on the sea. The project is scheduled to be completed near the end of 2019.
Why do so many architects use Alexander Calder sculptures in their renderings, even when the works have nothing to do with the institution or project depicted? The Calder Foundation has been tracking this phenomenon, and the results are featured in the slideshow above. A new exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York explores mobiles—kinetic sculptures in which carefully balanced components reveal their own unique systems of movement—created by American sculptor Alexander Calder from 1930 until 1968, eight years before his death. Running through October 23, the exhibition features almost 40 sculptures, including three that served as models for possible architectural commissions. In addition, Alexander S. C. Rower, who is the sculptor’s grandson and head of the Calder Foundation, will bring one of three motorized maquettes Calder created as proposals for the 1939 New York World’s Fair to the Whitney later this summer for a temporary viewing and activation.Other Calder works on display that were designed for architectural projects include Octopus and The Helices, both made in 1944 as part of a series of bronze works Calder envisioned as 40-foot monuments and created for an International Style architectural project proposed by Wallace K. Harrison. Interestingly, more recently, many well-established architects have used Calder’s works to illustrate renderings of their own designs, often without the Calder Foundation’s permission. OMA in particular apparently finds Calder’s sculptures perfect for its projects: It used his 1973 Crinkly with a Red Disc, actually in the collection of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, in Germany, in its rendering of the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow. The rendering for the firm’s Park Grove condos in Miami pilfered Calder’s 1973 Flamingo, which actually sits in Federal Plaza in Chicago, while the rendering for 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington, D.C., by OMA and OLIN, features the same sculpture. Other architectural firms that favor Calder’s works in their renderings include Ateliers Jean Nouvel, whose 53 W. 53rd Street project in Manhattan features Calder’s 1961 Sumac, actually in a private collection. Shigeru Ban Architects used Calder’s 1971 The Eagle, now at the Seattle Art Museum, and his 1972 Trepied rouge et noir in renderings for, respectively, the Tainan Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan and Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport in Japan. Renzo Piano Building Workshop (which designed The Whitney’s current home in Manhattan’s meatpacking district), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SOM, and Studio Libeskind also find the display of Calder’s works an attractive way to promote their concepts. Calder’s works reside today in some major venues: In addition to the sculptures in Federal Plaza in Chicago and at the Seattle Art Museum, the home of his Five Swords is Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, N.Y. Asked about contemporary architects’ practice of borrowing—to put it politely—images of Calder’s works to illustrate their designs, Rower said that during the artist’s lifetime, Calder was friendly with Mies van der Rohe, Josep Lluís Sert, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer and Wallace K. Harrison, and “frenemies” with Frank Lloyd Wright. As the first artist commissioned to make a public sculpture by the General Services Administration, he said Calder was “the obvious go-to for architects designing new buildings or plazas. Given this history, it comes as no surprise to me that, even today, he is the most prolific artist depicted in architectural renderings. His iconic vocabulary is instantly recognizable; thus, contemporary architects use his imagery to suggest the superior qualities of their projects.” “The genius of Calder’s work,” Rower added, “is that it transforms space—and our experience of it—in real time. While his great invention, the mobile, does this in an overt way—performing in front of us and literally embodying movement—Calder’s stabiles (stationary sculptures) imply movement and affect how we encounter surrounding plazas, facades or even natural landscapes. Architects intuitively understand that effect, and are excited by the prospect of how a Calder sculpture can deepen the experience of whatever space they are designing.” “As long as it’s done in a respectful way,” Rower admitted that rendering actual Calder works that have not been manipulated “is gratifying. I’m interested in Calder’s works in architectural mock-ups—allowing me to imagine his sculptures in many different settings and contexts. And it’s rewarding that Calder remains a favorite amongst architects.”
Jean Nouvel visited western Massachusetts “about a dozen years ago for Thanksgiving” and is now being considered to master plan the downtown of North Adams. He met last Friday with North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright to discuss ideas and plans for the development of the Berkshire city and said he is “intrigued and impressed by the recent developments at the Clark and Mass M0CA.” Nouvel also released the following statement: “The concept of a cultural corridor in northwest Massachusetts is unique. The existing institutions are phenomenal. The combination of elements that exists here is like no other that I know of. The landscape, the topography, the colors, and the collision of Main Street, the overpass, and the railroad lends itself to an extraordinary and precise intervention or series of interventions that would preserve the scale of the city, and build on the concentration of cultural resources in the region.” With former Guggenheim Foundation Director Thomas Krens planning a new museum complex in the town's small airport, this is a region that thinks big!
At this year’s "Lunch at a Landmark," which took place in a historic McKim, Mead & White building in Manhattan, French architect Jean Nouvel discussed a few of his projects in New York and abroad with his friend and sometimes-collaborator, Thomas Krens, director emeritus of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Nouvel, who has won the most significant architecture awards in the world, such as the Pritzker Prize, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, the Imperial Prize of Japan, and the Aga Khan award, chose the theme “CONTEXTUALITIES” as the framework by which to discuss his projects. Krens kicked off the conversation: “Architects tend to develop a personal vocabulary that can be translated to different contexts,” he said. “For example, you can easily recognize a Frank Gehry. The neat thing about Jean is that he doesn’t start with a vocabulary; he starts with a place: What is the feel about the place? Where is the place going? Is it urban? Is it historical? Is it a fresh site?” Nouvel outlined his unique approach as slides of his stunning projects were shown, including the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Arab World Institute, Opéra Nouvel in Lyon, France, 40 Mercer, 53W53, and 100 Eleventh Avenue in New York, Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn, the Guggenheim in Rio de Janeiro, Church of Saint Mary, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. “If I know nothing about the situation, I don’t know why I should build one thing or another one. I think architecture is an art, but we are special artists. Artists, they can go anywhere they want and they are totally free. But you can’t go to a place and say ‘It will look like this’ and we cannot impose the same vocabulary through style. Some style is apparent—it’s not part of the formal context—but I think architecture should be unique to the situation. I think the situation for me is the history of the place, the culture, the spirit of the city, the moment in time. I think there are lots of different situations and if we make the same projects for all of these different situations, then you won’t know where you are when you travel around the world. So for me, contextuality must be the main parameter.” Nouvel credits his upbringing and architectural education for this perspective. He worked under Claude Parent in his twenties and was very involved with the French intellectualism and the Structuralist movements. In particular, Nouvel and Krens discussed the unbuilt Guggenheim in Rio de Janeiro and Nouvel’s radical decision to submerge a portion of the museum under water. Inspiration for the building, Nouvel said, stemmed from the first time he saw the city. “I arrived early in the morning and there’s the sea, which is flat, and then the city, and then the mountain. I was struck by the romance of the place and I wanted to capture the emotion of Rio de Janeiro as this fantasy landscape, to allow the museum to reflect this vision.” Nouvel feels very strongly about this approach to building as a means of keeping cities vibrant and interesting. “Every time, we must reconsider the situation anew. Sometimes, architects will reproduce projects from the past and the cities become tepid, like a pastiche of themselves. It’s horrible. The two ended their discussion with the Louvre Abu Dhabi, set to open in 2017. “The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the apotheosis of modern architecture,” Krens said. Indeed the building clearly reflects Nouvel’s unique approach: A massive, domed ceiling created from geometric shapes indicative of Arab culture creates stunning shafts of light, illuminating the art and the visitor. “To create a new situation, you have to consider that the main population will judge only what they can see, you have to consider contextuality and give back and focus on the people.”
The Cannes Film Festival doesn't start until May 11. But for architecture enthusiasts, there's another notable event in the gorgeous city on the French Riviera: MIPIM (Le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier). The show, which is in its 26th year, just announced the winners of its annual awards, divided into more than ten categories, and handed out not just for a project's innovative architecture, but its development characteristics. Award categories cover all types of development, from health care to hospitality to the strangely named "Best Futura Mega Project," which we're still trying to decipher. And the winners are... BEST HEALTHCARE DEVELOPMENT Queen Elizabeth University Hospital & Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow, United Kingdom Developer: Brookfield Multiplex Architect: IBI Group Client: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde BEST HOTEL & TOURISM RESORT JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa Venice, Italy Developer: La Sessola Srl Architect: Matteo Thun & Partners Project Manager: Luca Colombo BEST INDUSTRIAL & LOGISTICS DEVELOPMENT ELI Beamlines Prague, Czech Republic Developer: Fyzikální ústav Akademie, věd ČR, v.v.i., Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic Architect: Bogle Architects BEST INNOVATIVE GREEN BUILDING Treurenberg Brussels, Belgium Developer: AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets Architect: ASSAR ARCHITECTS Owner: AXA Belgium BEST OFFICE & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT #CLOUD.PARIS Paris, France Developer: SFL (Société Foncière Lyonnaise) Architect: PCA Philippe Chiambaretta Architecte BEST REFURBISHED BUILDING Papillon Düsseldorf, Germany Developer: 741 Projektentwicklung GmbH Architect: Luczak Architekten & SW Häuser GmbH Other: Cadman GmbH, Hellmich Gruppe & CarLoft BEST RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT Katscha Norrköping, Sweden Developer: Ivarsson Byggnads AB Architect: Kai Wartiainen and Ingrid Reppen, arkitektur + development ab Public Authority: Norrköpings kommun BEST SHOPPING CENTRE Les Docks Village Marseille, France Developer: Constructa Urban Systems Architect: 5+1 AA Other: JP Morgan Asset Management BEST URBAN REGENERATION PROJECT Crossrail Place London, United Kingdom Developer: Canary Wharf Group Architect: Foster + Partners Engineer: Arup, Wiehag BEST FUTURA PROJECT Paradis Express Liège, Belgium Developer: Fedimmo Architect: association A2M – Jaspers-Eyers Architects – BAG Other: Bureau Lemaire, TPF engineering, D2S, Heinz Winters Atelier, Duchêne, Galère, Interbuild BEST FUTURA MEGA PROJECT DUO PARIS: Taking urban sensations to new heights Paris, France Developer: Invanhoé Cambridge Architect: Jean Nouvel Project Manager: Hines PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD Shanghai Tower Shanghai, China Developer: Shanghai Tower Construction & Development Co. Ltd Architect: Gensler Other: Shanghai Construction Group, Thornton Tomasetti, Cosentini Associates, SWA Group, I.DEA Ecological Solutions
West Avenue in Miami Beach is set for a Jean Nouvel high rise surrounded by an elaborate man-made lagoon. The tower will be covered with suspended vegetation that, at least in renderings, casts the structure in a distinctly green hue. This is Nouvel's second attempt at building in the city after his Grove Heights project lost a competition in 2013. "Monad Terrace" as the 14-story tower is known, is set to top out at 149 feet, just a hair below the city's height limit of 150 feet. Developers JDS also recruited Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design to work on the scheme which boasts a glass facade encircled by water and a green wall, covered in foliage on one side. Inside, the structure will hold approximately 80 residential units that will offer two–five bedroom layouts, each with views out three or four sides of the building. Topping the structure are two penthouses, each with its own private pool. To maintain privacy, reflective screens—that allow views out but obscure view in—sit in front windows, creating a staggered facade. The lagoon, however, is the complex's showpiece. Occupants can stroll up to seating in the middle and edges of the lagoon or take a dip in the swimming pool along the bay where a waterfall is planned. According to managing partner at JDS Development Group, Michael Stern, the pool will be visible from the bay. It's not all good news though. Elaborate water features may be easy on the eye, but rising sea levels are a very real threat to those along the coast on Miami's South Beach. The issue surfaced late last year when The New Yorker published findings that said the idyllic retreats of the area could be underwater in under 50 years. Nouvel's design however, looks to be high and dry. "Our design is very conscious of what is going on to changes to the streets and concerns about sea level rise," said Stern speaking to Curbed Miami. Monad Terrace will be the first building in the West Avenue vicinity to encompass the higher street level requirements. Nouvel has been inclusive of the potential disastrous surroundings in his design. Landscaping dotted around the building can absorb water, meanwhile below street-level garages can act as water-tight "bathtubs." Speaking on the matter, Stern commented that "the landscape is designed that if any salt water intruded it is tough enough to live through that event."