Art and Culture  Exhibition 

The Architect at the Museum

Norman Foster Returns to Nîmes

Mauricio Vicent 

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (1989)

Some weeks ago Norman Foster and his wife, Elena, were in Nîmes and riding a taxi to the Carré d’Art, the elegant and iconic museum of contemporary art that the author of the Swiss Re tower in London and the Reichstag dome in Berlin built for the southern French city back in 1993. Recognizing them, the driver confessed to having been one of those who at first opposed the idea of a modern glass cube right across the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple from 1 B.C., built by the successors of Emperor Augustus. Like him, many saw the new building as a sacrilege and a threat to the Maison Carrée, one of the gems of Nímes, along with the Les Arènes amphitheater. Here was the taxi driver now, however, two decades after the building opened, telling the architect how pleased he was with what the Carré d’Art had done for the city. He considered it an example of how the new and the classical can exist together in a public space and improve it...

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