Christian de Portzamparc

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Christian de Portzamparc
Born (1944-05-05) 5 May 1944 (age 70)
Casablanca, Morocco
Nationality French
Awards 1994 Pritzker Prize,
2004 Grand Prix de l'urbanisme
2003-2008 Hotel Renaissance Wagram in Paris
2001-2009 Hergé museum, Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium
2001-2004 Headquarters for the press group Le Monde in Paris
Photo Kamel Khalfi
1984-1995 The City of Music in Paris
Photo Nicolas Borel

Christian de Portzamparc (French pronunciation: ​[kʁistjɑ̃ də pɔʁtzɑ̃paʁk]; born 5 May 1944) is a French architect and urbanist. He graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux Arts[1] in Paris in 1970 and has since been noted for his bold designs and artistic touch; his projects reflect a sensibility to their environment and to urbanism that is a founding principle of his work.[2] He won the Pritzker Prize in 1994.[3]

Life and career[edit]

de Portzamparc was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1944, when that country was a French protectorate. He began studying architecture in 1962 at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he was influenced by professors Eugène Beaudouin, who "encouraged his taste for formal expressionism", and George Candilis, who "emphasized systematic work on grids and networks."[4] In 1966 he traveled to New York where he spent a few months during a nine-month academic hiatus that was rooted in his hesitations about continuing in architecture—"Architecture seemed to me to be too bureaucratic, and not free enough compared to art; and the modernistic ideals which I worshiped before, seemed to me unable to reach the richness of real life. I also began to criticize my first influences like Le Corbusier".[4] Nevertheless he returned to his studies in the 1967 academic year and would graduate from the Beaux-Arts in 1969.[4] He created his agency in 1980, supported by Marie-Élisabeth Nicoleau, Étienne Pierrès and Bertrand Beau, and later welcomed Bruno Durbecq, Céline Barda, Léa Xu, André Terzibachian and Clovis Cunha. Based in Paris, the agency has ‘satellite’ offices near building sites, in addition to offices in New York and Rio de Janeiro, and represents a team of 80 people, drawn from all corners of the globe.[5]


Both an architect and urban planner, Christian de Portzamparc is implicated in the research of form and meaning, as well as being a constructer. His work focuses on research over speculation and concerns the quality of life; aesthetics are conditioned by ethics, and he maintains that we have too often dissociated one from the other. Christian de Portzamparc focuses on all scales of construction, from simple buildings to urban re-think; the town is a founding principal of his work, developing in parallel and in crossover along three major lines: neighbourhood or city pieces, individual buildings and sky-scrapers.[6]

The growth of Christian de Portzamparc’s urban projects through competitions and studies led to an evolution of methods, a practical result of theoretical research and analysis. This renewed vision of urban structure, which he named the “open block” in the 80s, can be seen today through projects such as the Quartier Masséna - Seine Rive Gauche (since 1995), an entire neighbourhood of Paris, and at La Lironde (since 1991), in the south of France, both of which illustrate his master-planning and coordination techniques.[7]

Christian de Portzamparc’s iconic buildings, urban poles of attraction, create environments wherein the interior and exterior spaces interpenetrate, working as catalysts in cityscape dynamics. This method of functioning came into play in major cultural programmes, often dedicated to dance and music, the most recent examples of which include a 1500 seat philharmonic hall, 300 seat chamber hall and 120 seat electro-acoustic hall in Luxembourg, completed in 2005, plus a unique 1800 seat concert hall that transforms into a 1300 seat opera house, which is under construction, amongst other music halls, as part of the project Cidade da Música in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The towers created by Christian de Portzamparc have, since the beginning, been a result of his studies of the vertical and sculptural dimension, concentrating on the prismatic form, the most recognised example of which is the LVMH Tower created in 1995 in New York, USA, for which Christian de Portzamparc received many accolades, soon to be accompanied by the residential tower at 400 Park avenue in Manhattan, whose site is due to commence in 2010.

In 1994, Christian de Portzamparc became the first French architect to gain the prestigious “Pritzker Architectural Prize”, at the age of 50.[8]

In 1999, he created the twenty-three story LVMH Tower on East 57th Street in New York City and, later, the LVMH's corporate headquarters on Avenue Montaigne in Paris, France.[8]

In 2006, the Collège de France created a 53rd chair dedicated ‘artistic creation’, and called on Christian de Portzamparc to be its first occupant. Today, he continues his research work through projects that are under way around the world, expressing his freshness, pleasure and passion through a perfectionism that has characterised his work from the beginning.

Principal completed projects[edit]

Principal projects under construction[edit]

  • 1991-2009 Development of the Lironde Gardens and construction of two Montpellier blocks
  • 1995-2009 Urban development of the Masséna district, Paris
  • 1998-2009 Croix Rousse Hospital, Lyon
  • 2001-2008 Société Générale tower, La Défense, Paris
  • 2002-2009 “400 Park Avenue South” residential tower in Manhattan, New York
  • 2003-2008 Renaissance Paris Wagram Hotel, Paris
  • 2006-2009 Regional hall, Hôtel de Région Rhône Alpes, Lyon
  • 2004-2008 Multiplex Europalaces-Gaumont, Rennes
  • 2004-2008 Residential development “La prairie au Duc”, Nantes
  • 2004-2008 Bastide residential development in Bordeaux
  • 2011–2015 Amphitheater District in Metz
  • 2011–2013 One57, a 75-story hotel/condominium tower (marketed as 90) in New York City
  • 2013–2016 Arena 92, new home to the Racing Métro 92 rugby team in Nanterre

Awards and distinctions[edit]

  • 1988 - Equerre d’Argent – awarded by the press group Le Moniteur for the Dance School of the Paris Opera in Nanterre[12]
  • 1989 - Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters – awarded by the French Ministry of Culture
  • 1990 - The Great Prize of Architecture of the City of Paris – awarded by the Mayor of Paris
  • 1992 - Médaille d’Argent – awarded by the French Academy of Architecture
  • 1993 - Great National Prize of Architecture – awarded by the French Ministry of Urbanism and Transport
  • 1994 - Pritzker Prize of Architecture – awarded by the Hyatt Foundation
  • 1995 - Equerre d’Argent awarded by the French press group Le Moniteur for the City of Music – Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris
  • 2001 - Business Week and Architectural Record Award for the LVMH tower in New York (USA)[13]
  • 2004 - The Great Prize of Urbanism – awarded by an international jury who 'wanted to congratulate a work with achievements of high quality combined with city vision and philosophy articulating theoretical concepts and concrete realisations, while developing an optimistic vision for the future through his works and writings'[14]
  • 2005 - MIPIM Award for the remodelling of the building for the press group Le Monde in Paris[15]

Publications and biographies[edit]

  • Exhibition catalogue « Rêver la ville », Sophie Trelcat, Paris, Le Moniteur, 2007
  • Architecture : figures du monde, figures du temps, Leçons inaugurales au Collège de France, Collège de France/Fayard, Paris, 2006
  • Voir écrire, Christian de Portzamparc & Philippe Sollers, Paris, Folio Gallimard, 2005
  • Christian de Portzamparc by Gilles de Bure Edited by Terrail, 2003
  • Christian de Portzamparc, entretien avec Y. Futagawa, G.A. Document extra 04 / in Studio Talk interview with 15 architects (Tokyo, A.D.A edita,2002
  • Christian de Portzamparc by Riccardo Florio, Edited by Officina Edizioni, 1997
  • Christian de Portzamparc G.A.Document, 1996
  • Christian de Portzamparc Disegno e forma dell’architettura per la città, R.Florio (Roma, Officina Edizioni, 1996)
  • Généalogie des formes by Christian de Portzamparc, Edited by Dis Voir, about free drawings and paintings,1996
  • Christian de Portzamparc Edited by Arc en Rêve/ Birkhauser, 1996
  • Scènes d'Atelier Edited by Centre Georges Pompidou, 1996
  • Christian de Portzamparc by Jean Pierre Le Dantec Edited by Le Regard, 1996
  • Christian de Portzamparc Urban situations Edited by Gallery MA - Tokyo - Japan 1991
  • Christian de Portzamparc Published by Le Moniteur, 1984–1987

Books on projects[edit]

  • La philharmonie de Luxembourg, entretien avec C. de Portzamparc, M. Brausch. (Luxembourg, Fonds d’Urbanisation et d’Aménagement du Plateau de Kirchberg, 2003)
  • La tour LVMH, entretien avec C. de Portzamparc «Portzamparc ou l’esprit des lieux». «Christian de Portzamparc The LVMH Tower», J. Giovannini, F.Rambert, (Connaissance des Arts hors série, Paris, 1999)
  • De la danse - école du ballet de L’Opéra de Paris, C. de Portzamparc (Paris, Les éditions du Demi-Cercle, 1990)
  • La cité de la musique, M. Bleuse, P. Boulez, S. Goldberg, J-C. Casadesus, O. Messiaen, P. Sollers, H. Tonka,C. de Portzamparc (Paris, Champ Vallon, 1986)
  • Rue des Hautes Formes, C. de Portzamparc (Paris, Régie immobilière de la ville de Paris, RIVP, 1979)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Architecture : figures du monde, figures du temps, Leçons inaugurales au Collège de France, Collège de France/Fayard, Paris, 2006
  2. ^ Exhibition catalogue « Rêver la ville », Sophie Trelcat, Paris, Le Moniteur, 2007
  3. ^ The Pritzker Architecture Prize 1994 Sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation
  4. ^ a b c "Christian de Portzamparc Biography". The Pritzker Architecture Prize. Hyatt Foundation. Archived from the original on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 23 June 2013. "Architecture seemed to me to be too bureaucratic, and not free enough compared to art; and the modernistic ideals which I worshiped before, seemed to me unable to reach the richness of real life. I also began to criticize my first influences like Le Corbusier." 
  5. ^ Christian de Portzamparc by Gilles de Bure Edited by Terrail, 2003
  6. ^ Christian de Portzamparc by Riccardo Florio, Edited by Officina Edizioni, 1997
  7. ^ Généalogie des formes by Christian de Portzamparc, Edited by Dis Voir, about free drawings and paintings,1996
  8. ^ a b Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9. 
  9. ^ La cité de la musique, M. Bleuse, P. Boulez, S. Goldberg, J-C. Casadesus, O. Messiaen, P. Sollers, H. Tonka,C. de Portzamparc (Paris, Champ Vallon, 1986)
  10. ^ La tour LVMH, entretien avec C. de Portzamparc «Portzamparc ou l’esprit des lieux».
  11. ^ La philharmonie de Luxembourg, entretien avec C. de Portzamparc, M. Brausch. (Luxembourg, Fonds
  12. ^ De la danse - école du ballet de L’Opéra de Paris, C. de Portzamparc(Paris, Les éditions du Demi-Cercle,1990).
  13. ^ The LVMH Tower, Connaissance des Arts, 2007
  14. ^ Grand Prix de l'Urbanisme 2004 Portrait des nominés, edited by le ministre de l'Equipment, des Transports, de l'Aménagement du Territoire, du Tourisme et de la Mer,
  15. ^ Paris 2000 New Architecture by Sam Lubell, The Monacelli Press
  • Paris 2000 New Architecture by Sam Lubell, The Monacelli Press

External links[edit]