RIBA Gold Medal 2001


Jean Nouvel

On 21 June in London, Jean Nouvel accepted the Royal Institute of British Architects’ gold medal, becoming, at 56, one of the youngest recipients ever of an award annually granted to honor the career of a historian, critic, or architect still in active service. The Frenchman conquered the jury – Peter Cook, Piers Cough, and Amanda Levete, among others – with buildings which through transparencies, reflections, and other perceptive ambiguities express the spirit of the times. Nouvel is an admirer of the Smithsons, Archigram, and British high-tech, but the references of his work are also found in contemporary film and art. The Convention Center of Lucerne, the Palace of Justice of Nantes, and the conversion into housing of a Vienna gasometer are among his latest accomplishments. In Spain he is carrying out the extension of Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum, using his characteristic metal visor to unify the different parts of the program, as well as a tower for the water supplier Aguas de Barcelona on the junction of the Catalan capital’s Glorias, with its circular floor plan, cucumber crown, and sophisticated pixelated skin.

Included Tags: