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Nouvel in legal bid to undo Philharmonie de Paris ‘sabotage’

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Jean Nouvel has applied for a court order to remedy design deviations which allegedly ‘savaged and sabotaged’ his Philharmonie de Paris concert hall

The Pritzker Prize-winning architect has called for ‘amending work’ to remedy 26 key instances of ‘non-compliance’ with his original design.

Parapets, foyers, facades and the 2,400-seat concert hall itself will need to be modified if the application is approved on 16 April – reported Le Monde.

Nouvel has meanwhile demanded his name and image be removed from all references to the £280 million building.

The move comes after the architect boycotted the concert hall’s opening in January, claiming he had been falsely blamed for cost overruns and delays.

At the time, Nouvel argued the building was incomplete and its January opening ‘did not allow the architectural and technical requirements to be respected.’

Writing in Le Monde, he argued he became a ‘scapegoat’ when costs escalated amid delays caused by the global financial crisis in 2011.  

At the same time he was ‘vilified and secretly–contractually–sidelined’ by the threat of being chucked off the job, Nouvel claimed.

He said: ‘The crisis apparently justified all sacrifices, and so a cost killer was wheeled in to join the Philharmonie’s CEO in making economically disastrous decisions.’

He continued: ‘In the name of sacrifice, they would in fact make the ultimate sacrifice, sacrificing savings, extending deadlines and blowing-out costs. Attacks on the work of architecture multiplied.’ 

He added: ‘The architecture was savaged, the details sabotaged. And so taxpayers will have to pay, yet again, for the results of these reckless decisions to be corrected.’

Nouvel went on to claim opening the Philharmonie de Paris without its planned 37-metre-high public gazebo ‘makes no sense and represents an attack on the work of architecture.’

He continued: ‘On that score, I will assert my moral rights over the compliance of the work, as well as over other crucial points, so we end up with decent finishes in the foyers and the concert hall.’

Nouvel won a contest for the building – located in Paris’ north east Parc de La Vilette district – in 2007.

The building – funded by the French government and City of Paris – was originally scheduled to cost £100 million and open in September 2012.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel and the Philharmonie de Paris both declined to comment on the court application.






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