Jean Nouvel was born in Fumel, France in 1945.
After he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, Jean Nouvel ranked first in the entrance examination of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1966 and obtained his degree in 1972. Assistant to the architect Claude Parent and inspired by urban planner and essayist Paul Virilio, he started his first architecture practice in 1970.
Jean Nouvel’s work does not result from considerations of style or ideology, but from a quest to create a unique concept for a singular combination of people, place and time. His contextual approach and ability to infuse a genuine uniqueness into all the projects he undertakes have consistently yielded buildings that transform their environments and indelibly mark the cities in which they are built.
Projects include the Arab World Institute (Paris, 1987), the Lyon Opera House (Lyon, 1993), the Cartier Foundation (Paris, 1994), the Galeries Lafayette (Berlin, 1996), the Culture and Congress Center KKL (Lucerne, 2000), the Agbar Tower (Barcelona, 2005), the extension of the Queen Sofia Arts Center (Madrid, 2005), the Quai Branly Museum (Paris, 2006), the Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis, 2006), the Philharmonie de Paris (Paris, 2015).
His works have gained world-wide recognition through numerous prestigious French and International prizes and rewards. In 1989, The Arab World Institute in Paris was awarded the Aga-Khan Prize. In 2000, Jean Nouvel received the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale. In 2001, he received three of the highest international awards: the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Praemium Imperiale of Japan’s Fine Arts Association and the Borromini Prize for the Culture and Conference Center in Lucerne. He was appointed Doctor Honoris Causa of the Royal College of Art in London in 2002 and he was the recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2008.