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Nouvel wins top architect's prize

Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, with a model in his office
Mr Nouvel is praised for his attention to his buildings' settings

Frenchman Jean Nouvel has been awarded architecture's most prestigious award, the 2008 Pritzker Prize.

Nouvel, 62, received the prize in recognition of more than 200 projects, including the Arab World Institute in Paris and the Agbar Tower in Barcelona.

Prize jurors in Los Angeles praised his "persistence, imagination, exuberance and... insatiable urge for creative experimentation".

Nouvel will receive a bronze medallion and $100,000 (50,500).

Former winners of the annual prize include Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano and IM Pei.

"His inquisitive and agile mind propels him to take risks in each of his projects, which... have greatly expanded the vocabulary of contemporary architecture," the jury's citation said.

They praised him for his attention to context and ability to adapt his style with each new project.

Nouvel says that contrasts between transparency and opacity are an important aspect of his work.

The Agbar Tower in Barcelona, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel
The Agbar Tower in Barcelona is seen as a success

"All my life, I have fought against generic architecture and fought for specific architecture," Nouvel told Reuters news agency.

"When you travel around the world, in the big cities, you see exactly the same buildings.

"I think it is important in this globalisation to consider that architecture is a form of resistance to this uniformisation of the world."

The Pritzker Prize was created by the Chicago-based Pritzker family, owners of the Hyatt hotel chain.

The award ceremony is scheduled for 2 June in Washington DC.




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