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Jean Nouvel sues to stop €170.6 million fine for late opening of Philharmonie de Paris

France Architecture News - Oct 24, 2019 - 13:14   18913 views

Jean Nouvel sues to stop €170.6 million fine for late opening of Philharmonie de Paris

French architect Jean Nouvel is moving to sue to stop a demanded €170.6 million fine over the late opening of Philharmonie de Paris.  The Philharmonie de Paris, which was opened to the public in 2015 despite Nouvel's opposition to the building's opening, was named as one of the world's most expensive concert halls. 

According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, Nouvel will sue the relevant body that manages the building's fines which was issued against him with €170.6m fine in 2017 due to the late delivery of the building. 

Nouvel’s lawyers told The Guardian that the Philharmonie’s claim is "totally disproportionate". Now Nouvel's studio is counter-suing that relevant body since "the claim was unusual and the concert hall targeted only the architect and no other business involved in the project."

Jean Nouvel sues to stop €170.6 million fine for late opening of Philharmonie de Paris

Jean Nouvel. Image courtesy of Le Monde

The Philharmonie de Paris was opened in 2015

The project of the Philharmonie de Paris began in 2006 and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel won an international competition in March 2007 to design Paris' new Philharmonie building with his perfectly contextual architecture situated within the Parc de la Villette, but the project saw a long-period of delays to complete the construction until 2015.

The overall cost of the concert hall initially was €173m - when the project was announced in 2006 - and then rose to €386m by the time it opened two years late on 14 January 2015. 

However, Nouvel wanted to postpone the opening of the concert hall and published a declaration in 2015, saying that "the building was not fully completed and its acoustic tests were not done." After his declaration, the architect didn't attend the opening of the Philharmonie de Paris. 

In 2017, the Philharmonie de Paris sued Jean Nouvel for the building's over costs reaching €170.6m, including vast penalties for late delivery.

Jean Nouvel sues to stop €170.6 million fine for late opening of Philharmonie de Paris

Jean Nouvel is moving to counter-suing to the Philharmonie de Paris

Nouvel's lawyers explained to The Guardian that "the Philharmonie’s claim is totally disproportionate."

The claim against their client was unusual because of the fact that the concert hall was targeting only the architect and no other business involved in the project, said Nouvel’s lawyers, William Bourdon and Vincent Brengarth. 

The lawyers said the sums being demanded were "unprecedented in the world of architecture" and amounted to a death sentence for Nouvel’s studio, reported The Guardian

The Philharmonie de Paris has always been speculative project from scratch due to its double budget and late opening. Jean Nouvel described the concert hall as the most prestigious project of his career until now. 

Jean Nouvel sues to stop €170.6 million fine for late opening of Philharmonie de Paris

Conceived as "a new model concert hall", it has often been asked – in reference to the Philharmonie de Paris – “Do we need yet another concert hall?” - Jean Nouvel and Philharmonie de Paris collectively reply this as: “This is not just one more concert hall.”

"In the word Philharmonic, one easily imagines a love of harmony. We play in successive harmonies, in urban harmonies. The Paris Philharmonic exists like a prestigious event which maintains the harmonious relationship with the Parc de la Villette, La Cité de la Musique and the Paris ring road," said Jean Nouvel in a project description.

Jean Nouvel sues to stop €170.6 million fine for late opening of Philharmonie de Paris

The building combines spaces of all kinds. It features an 2,400-seat adjustable auditorium in the core of the building, which is exceptional in its design, ergonomics and acoustic qualities. The building houses rehearsal rooms, 200-seat conference room, 1800-sqaure-metre educational spaces, 800-metre-square temporary exhibition space, restaurant and a cafe at Park level. 

The Philharmonie de Paris’ covering is composed of 340,000 birds, divided into seven different shapes and four shades ranging from light grey to black. More than 200,000 birds in aluminium sheeting are installed on the facades’ to symbolize a grand take-off.

All images © William Beaucardet / Philharmonie de Paris

> via The Guardian