Local water is a source of ideas for architect Jean Nouvella

pritzker prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvelle It is said that the fondest memories of his childhood revolve around water. These include his family’s annual summer vacation to the Cte ​​d’Azur, where he spent his days swimming in the sea, and his kayaking trip down the Dordogne River near the city of Sarlat in southwest France, where he grew up.

Today, after more than 60 years, water is an integral element in many countries. Mr. Novell’s Designs. among them are Monad Terrace, a 59-residence bay-front condominium project in Miami Beach with a honeycomb-glass facade, a series of reflective pools, and a lagoon; And this Louvre Abu Dhabi, a dome shaped building that looks like an island in the middle of the water. Most of his works like culture and the seminar Center Lucerne, Switzerland, and . In la marseille, a skyscraper in the French port city of Marseille – is in waterfront locations.

Born in Fumel in southwest France, Mr. Nouvel, 75, studied his craft at the School of Fine Arts in Bordeaux and the National School of Fine Arts in Paris. His Paris-based design firm, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, has about 150 employees. The company has won numerous awards for architecture and design and has worked on over 100 projects, ranging from museums, concert halls and theaters to residential and office buildings as well as private homes.

Mr. Nouvel splits his time between Paris and Saint-Paul de Vence, a medieval mountain village in the south of France that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and attracts tourists to its picturesque setting and art galleries.

Speaking through an interpreter, he recently discussed his architecture. These are edited excerpts of the conversation.

Why is water so important in your work? What is it about water that attracts you?

For me, architecture is an art – it’s not about building buildings. My goal is to create emotions through my art, and I believe that water has the magical characteristic of creating so many emotions and dreams. My childhood, where I spent a lot of happy times around water, is also a big factor in why I’m attracted to it and want it to play a role in my professional life.

The feelings of water vary depending on the body of water – it could be a sea, a river, or a port.

They are all so different, depending on the destination, that factors into my designs as well. When I’m in the Cte ​​d’Azur, for example, the mountains frame the rocky sea, and I feel complete freedom.

The Dordogne, in contrast, is completely blanketed in green. Being here is all about following the slow stream down the branches of the trees. It is like poetry.

Given that destination plays into your design, can you share how Miami Beach influenced your approach to the Monad Terrace?

Miami Beach is all about the beach.

Over the years, I’ve been to Miami several times [the art fair] Art Basel and other occasions, and spent time on the beach, but the Monad Terrace is on the bay. As a result, my project was in response to a Miami perspective that is not typical. I used the pool and a lagoon to make it feel like the building was completely submerged in water. If you are standing inside your apartment, you can look down at the water and see its variations with the light and movement of the trees, and feel that they are coming into your house and one of it. are part.

This immersion experience is at the heart of many of my designs, including Jane’s Carousel In Dumbo, in Brooklyn, which is next to the East River and has a clear facade. When the carousel moves, light from outside is reflected against the façade and gives the feeling that the horses are dancing on the water.

The National Museum of Qatar, a building with discs curved at different angles, is one of your major designs in recent years. Tell us about your water use in the project.

this design There is an encounter between the desert and the sea, which Qatar, as a destination, has a lot to offer.

I was inspired by the desert rose, a flower that blooms in the desert and is a symbol of the country. The building is my version of the rose, and the various curves resemble blades. It has a long reflecting pool in front and is near the Persian Gulf.

You get a clear view of the museum from the water, and when you’re inside, you feel like floating on top of the water, overlooking both the pool and the sea.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, another of your major museum projects, is at a destination that is similar to Qatar in terms of both desert and sea. How is this design different from your work in Qatar?

Here, I built my own version of a dome, a feature of Arabic architecture. The building looks like an island floating in the middle of the sea and has a large dome with a vaulted roof, which lets the sun in.

Looking at this, it’s hard to say that you can get there by land. It is almost a spiritual structure.

What are some of your upcoming projects in which water is a central theme?

opera of shenzhen, in Shenzhen, China, which is opposite Hong Kong and the mouth of the Pearl River. The design is meant to be an encounter of music and the sea and give rise to a musical composition with the silhouette of the waves on the shore.

If you had to choose a favorite waterfront destination, what would it be?

I love any place where I can swim in the ocean and still go to the Cote d’Azur. I also love Saint-Paul de Vence, where I live because I can see the Mediterranean Sea from my house. And I often visit Cadax, a beautiful city in the Costa Brava of Spain. Going there reminds me of my youth.

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