In 2003, Land Securities launched an open architectural competition to find a world-class architect for the development of the prestigious One New Change – and the judging panel, which included Lord Rogers, found him in the award winning architect, Jean Nouvel (64). One of the world’s great modernist architects, Nouvel is recognised for his artistic integrity in employing challenging, original architecture for highly sensitive sites.
In 1994, Nouvel established Ateliers Jean Nouvel, which is now one of the largest architectural practices in France, with offices worldwide. He has designed over 200 buildings in cities including Paris, Madrid, New York, Tokyo and Beijing.
Despite a towering reputation on the global architectural scene, One New Change is Nouvel's first building in London. Ahead of the project’s completion, he was invited by the Serpentine Gallery to design their 10th Pavilion earlier this year.
Nouvel’s projects transform the landscapes in which they are built yet his vision places enormous importance on designing buildings that are harmonious with their surroundings. His work in the Middle East, in particular the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, opening in 2012, will be testament to this.
In 2008 Nouvel was awarded architecture’s highest honour, the Pritzker Prize. Among his achievements are, in the words of The New York Times, the ‘exotically louvered’ Arab World Institute, the bullet-shaped and ‘candy-colored’ Torre Agbar in Barcelona, the ‘muscular’ Guthrie Theater with its cantilevered bridge in Minneapolis, and in Paris, the ‘defiant, mysterious and wildly eccentric’ Musée du quai Branly.
As a result of his strikingly diverse and plentiful body of work, Jean Nouvel’s buildings have no easily identifiable signature. His approach is characterised by a conceptual rigour as opposed to an overarching aesthetic. If he does have a signature, it’s one of space and light, not form. The most common material in his buildings is glass: he is fascinated by the effects that can be achieved with it.