Jean Nouvel’s Arab World Institute

Blog 9 – Jean Nouvel’s Arab World Institute

Before I get into this building, I’ll provide some background on my “star-chitect” Jean Nouvel. Born on August 12th, 1945, in Fumel, France, he was encouraged from a young age to study math and language for their job prospects, but he became enraptured by art in his teenage years. He later said his family compromised with him, allowing Jean to pursue architecture since it was considered “less risky”. Failing to gain entrance to a prestigious arts school, Nouvel moved to Paris where he won a national competition that allowed him entrance to the school he had been denied from. He then became an assistant to a pair of French architects, who made him a project manager within one year. By age 25, Nouvel was in his own architecture partnership, and he was off to become a key participant in architecture debates within France.

The third building designed by my assigned architect, Jean Nouvel, that I chose for the blogs assignment is the Arab World Institute in Paris, France. The building takes its name from the international organization housed within. Constructed from 1981 to 1987, this building turned Jean Nouvel into a world renowned architect not but 15 or so years into his career. He won the 1981 design competition for it, as the incredibly original building is located on a difficult site, and it has remained a successful solution. Containing a curved surface on the side facing the river Seine, the Arab World Institute welcomes those approaching from the bridge. The southwest side has a rectangular-based theme though, but it is still nonetheless stunning. The building is largely concrete and glass, making use of reflections to visually enhance the façade. The AWI building was an exceptionally modern building having been designed in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and I think it demonstrates Nouvel’s architectural vision and tendency for creative uses of light.

AWI curve AWI ractangular

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