Jean Nouvel to Design New Hall in Paris

French architect Jean Nouvel has been tapped to design a new orchestra hall for Paris, the prime minister’s office said Thursday April 5, 2007. The 2,400-seat hall, called the Philharmonie de Paris, will be home base for the Orchestre de Paris and other groups, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin’s office said in a statement. Nouvel’s project will be “one of the powerful new architectural gestures that Paris needs,” Villepin said. The architect beat out 97 others who competed for the project. Other competitors include Zaha Hadid (London), Coop Himmelblau (Vienna), MVRDV (Rotterdam), Francis Solar (Paris), and Christian de Portzamparc (Paris).

The auditorium will be built in Parc de la Villette, the capital’s biggest park, in 2012. The park in northeastern Paris already houses a science museum and a music center with several smaller auditoriums. The construction of the building, of a cost estimated at 200 million euros, will be financed at equality by the State (45%) and the City (45%), the Area Island-of-France having to bring the 10% remainders.

Nouvel has several other noteworthy buildings in Paris – the glassy Arab World Institute on the edge of the Seine River, and the Quai Branly museum for primitive arts, which opened last year. Another of Nouvel’s high-profile projects is an offshoot of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The flying saucer-shaped museum will open sometime after 2012.

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