Jean Nouvel was born in 1945 in the South West of France. He worked with an architectural firm while attending architecture school. In 1975, he opened his own office.
“Since he opened his office, Nouvel has worked to create a stylistic language separate from that of modernism and post-modernism. Rejecting the strict obedience to Le Corbusier that had stifled much of modern architecture, Nouvel initiates each project with his mind cleared of any preconceived ideas. Although he may borrow from traditional forms, he creates a building that stretches beyond traditional constraints.” Great Buildings Online
In 1981 Jean Nouvel won the competition for a series of “great projects” requested by Francois Mitterrand, the French President. In 1987 he was awarded the “Grand Prix d’Architecture” for his whole body of work and the “Equerre d’Argent” for his design work on minimalist pieces of furniture.
Nouvel became the vice-president of the Institut Frençais d’Architecure in 1991, and has been an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects since 1993. Nouvel has received a number of prestigious awards for his work, including the Equerre d’Argent for the best French building for both his Institut de Monde Arabe (1987) and the Lyon Opera House (1993), the medal of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (1983), as well as the silver medal of the Academie d’Architecture (1983), the Grand Prix d’Architecture (1987) and Special mention for the Aga Khan Prize (1987).