Christian de Portzamparc (born May 5, 1944 in Casablanca, Morocco) is a French architect and urbanist. He graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts 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 the town is a founding principal of his work. He won the Pritzker Prize in 1994.
Christian de Portzamparc was born in Casablanca in 1944, and graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1970. He created his agency in 1980, supported by Marie-Elisabeth Nicoleau, Etienne Pierres and Bertrand Beau, and later welcomed Bruno Durbecq, Celine Barda, Lea Xu, Andre 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.
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.
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 80's, can be seen today through projects such as the Quartier Massena - 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.
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 Musica 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. In 2006, the College 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.
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