PARIS.- Jean Nouvel, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize 2008, has been selected to design the 71 story high Signal tower in the financial district La Defense in Paris.
Nouvel's winning design calls for a building 301 metres high - the height of the Eiffel Tower - with a surface of 140,000 square metres that will comprise four atria, a hotel, offices, residences, shops and restaurants.
Containing office space, shops, apartments and a four-starhotel, the building will be a symbol of the city's developmentbeyond its traditional borders, the head of the developmentbody EPAD said.
Europe's largest business district, La Defense is used by 400,000 people each day, is home to 2,500 company headquarters as well as 20,000 residents, but it has often been criticized as a cold, faceless place to live and work.
Cost of the project is estimated at about 600 million euros (948 million dollars), and construction is scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2013.
Among the numerous significant buildings Nouvel has designed are the Arab World Institute in Paris, Barcelona's Torre Agbar, the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is currently being built.
The team has chosen to locate its project at the Porte Ouest to open up the La Défense neighbourhood to Puteaux.
This projects ambition is to create a strong hub at the heart of the Greater Paris region, creating a significant draw at the same time as establishing a relationship between the project and its natural and built-up environment, embodying the various temporal considerations which strengthen the links between a project and its environs.
The project comprises 71 storeys, forming a mixed-use building which brings together apartments, hotels, offices and retail premises in the lower section.
It is made up of four blocks piled one on top of the other with atriums forming huge windows, each facing in alternate directions. These perspectives reveal floor levels which form balconies within each of the atriums.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel is one of the largest architectural practices in France, and Jean Nouvel is renowned for being one of the most innovative architects at an international level.
Nouvel studied architecture at the Bordeaux School of Fine Arts in 1964 and came first in the entrance examination for the Paris National Academy of Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1972.
After his first striking achievement, the Maison Dick at Saint-André-les-Vergers in 1976, he designed the Val-Notre-Dame Hospital in Bezons (1976) and the Anne Franck Junior High school in Antony (1978). In 1981, he was selected to carry out the first major work built during Mitterands programme of grands travaux, the Arab World Institute, the mashrabiyah facade of which has become a familiar landmark. He went on to design the Nemausus social housing project in Nîmes, the Lyon Opera House - for which he topped existing walls with a huge glass canopy - and the all-glass Fondation Cartier building in 1994.
The Lucerne Culture and Conference Centre, inaugurated in 1999, sealed his international reputation. He was subsequently entrusted with the Dentsu Tower in Tokyo, the Reina Sofía Museum extension, the Agbar Tower and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. He has retained an interest in the Dordogne, designing Vesunna, Périgueuxs Gallo-Roman museum, and transforming the church of St Mary in Sarlat into a covered market. Jacques Chirac chose him for the construction of the Quai Branly Museum, inaugurated on June 23, 2006.
Jean Nouvel set up his own practice in 1994 under the name «Ateliers Jean Nouvel». He now heads up a team of 140 staff and has agencies in Paris, the United States, Spain and Abu Dhabi to oversee completion of his latest projects: the Life Marina in Ibiza, the Abu Dhabi Louvre, the Copenhagen auditorium, the Paris Philharmonic Concert Hall (part of the Cité de la Musique), the Hines Tower in Manhattan and the green-swathed SunCal tower in Santa Monica.
Jean Nouvel has won many prizes and awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize on March 30, 2008.