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Nouvel boycotts opening of his own project

Nouvel boycotts opening of his own project

Jean Nouvel has snubbed the opening of his new Philharmonie de Paris concert hall saying tests to ensure its viability as a venue for concerts have not been carried out.

The architect outlined his reasons for the boycott in an editorial for the French daily newspaper Le Monde.

The much-delayed project was scheduled to officially open on Wednesday at its location on the edge of the city’s 19th arrondissement. 

But it has been plagued by work stoppages and overerruns, and is estimated to have cost French taxpayers $455 million.

In his article Nouvel said: “Against all the advice of its architect since 2013, the building was opened in a schedule that does not allow to meet the architectural and technical requirements.”

In a statement on his website, Novel also rejected stories in the press which blamed him for spiralling costs on the project.

He said: “These charges are unfounded and highly prejudicial to me and to Ateliers Jean Nouvel.

“I will not tolerate that untruthful, defamatory and disparaging writings or comments are made about me.”

He then referred to a report to the French Senate dated 2012 which said that costs had been underestimated before the launch of the competition to find an architect for the project.

In Le Monde, Novel said the controversy “should open a debate on the architect’s missions, the owner and the contractor in our society, as well as the control of the use of public money in public buildings”.

The architect said that he has been pushed aside and decisions about the hall are being made in secret without the necessary oversight. He also claimed Philharmonie leaders have made cuts and sacrificed details, which he believes have compromised the building.

“The contempt these last two years for architecture, for the architect’s craft… prevents me from expressing my agreement and satisfaction with attending the opening ceremony,” Nouvel wrote.

The hall’s resident ensemble will be the Orchestre de Paris, which in the past has performed at the Salle Pleyel. It is also set to showcase an exhibition dedicated to David Bowie, previously seen at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

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