No. 52 . 30 May 2001 
ArchitectureWeek
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Jean Nouvel Wins RIBA Gold

by Peter Cook

French architect Jean Nouvel has been awarded the prestigious Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. The honor was announced mid-May by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

According to the RIBA announcement, "Nouvel has maintained the highest of architectural standards and has consistently brought excellence to design in a wide range of cultural and commercial buildings, in his native country and abroad." Editor

Jean Nouvel is simply a wonderful designer. In an age of blandness, imitation, or doubt, his work shines through as having both clarity and finesse, originality and lyricism.

In broad terms it will be referred-to as "high-tech" and in similarly broad terms he himself regarded as a "high-profile" personality. On close inspection, however, his work has a certain romanticism and intricacy, and he is a very warm, enthusiastic, and even naughty person. Even his ex-wives remain his friends!

A student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the time of the 1968 uprising when politics took over from design, this eager young man up from the Garonne went to work for Claude Parent, who, with his friend the philosopher Paul Virilio, inspired Jean to bypass the tiresome nature of Postmodernism and the subsequent Revival-Modernism that were the orthodoxy of Paris in the 1970s and 1980s.  

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