Lessons from Architecture

Jean Nouvel has received this years Pritzker Prize for his work in architecture.  An architect I admire for many reasons, one of which he is often criticized for and yet I believe is an amazing strength; he is not easily characterized.  There is no obvious signature to his work that he brings to each project he undertakes, they are all completely within context but not in a way that makes them disappear; they stand out and bring enjoyment through their contrast and yet belong through their harmony.

From the NPR interview with Jean Nouvel there were a couple of things that touched on his philosophy of design; lessons I read into.

Survey the site (research is paramount):

  • What was there?
  • What is there?
  • How was it was used?
  • How will it be used?

The exterior of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which was designed by Jean Nouvel - Amanda Ortland/Guthrie Theater

The New York Times also has a small article on Nouvel winning the Pritzker but the NYTimes Magazine will be publishing an in depth article for this Sunday called The Contextualizer.

“Typically, architects begin the design process with a sketch pad or scale models, but Nouvel starts with an idea he can express in words.”

“He tries things, and not everything works. There’s a mixture of things that are extraordinary, things that are experiments, things that don’t come off aesthetically. But Jean is willing to jump in and take on things and try. That’s a great quality.”Frank Gehry