The 2,400-seat hall, called the Philharmonie de Paris and estimated to cost €200 million, will be home to the Orchestre de Paris and other groups. The auditorium will be constructed in Parc de la Villette in northeastern Paris (the capital's biggest park) in 2012. The park already contains the Cit_ de la Musique complex, which houses a science museum and a music center with several smaller auditoriums.
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who announced the news yesterday, said in a statement that Nouvel's project will be "one of the powerful new architectural gestures that Paris needs." Nouvel's design will be unveiled on April 9.
Paris has long been criticized for its lack of a proper concert hall. According to MusicalAmerica.com, conductor John Nelson complained this week that his Ensemble Orchestral de Paris is forced to rehearse in two or three different halls and is only permitted a single rehearsal in the busy Th_ê¢tre des Champs-Elys_es the morning of the concert. Other orchestras reportedly face similar problems.
Only the recently redesigned and restored Salle Pleyel, which is home to the Orchestre de Paris, was especially designed for concert music.
Nouvel has already designed several other major buildings in Paris, including the glassy Arab World Institute on the edge of the Seine River and the Quai Branly museum for primitive arts, which opened last year. He also designed the Cultural and Congress Center in Lucerne (which hosts major Lucerne Festival concerts) and the new Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis (his first U.S. project), which opened last year. Nouvel's new concert hall in Copenhagen is scheduled for completion next year.