Jean Nouvel, the French architect behind some of the industry’s most talked-about projects - including One New Change, a brown glass retail development next to St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and Gasometer A in Vienna, the transformation of a former gas tank into a dramatic residential facility - has been tipped as the winner of an international competition to design the new National Art Museum of China in Beijing.
The architects shortlisted for the project were Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Moshe Safdie, however a ‘well-placed source’ has informed the Architectural Record that Nouvel has been awarded the project. An official announcement is yet to be made and Ateliers Jean Nouvel had not replied to a comment request at the time of publication.
At 1.3million sq ft, the project is due to sit next to Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei’s celebrated Beijing Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, and is allegedly designed to outshine the treasured Olympic Stadium. The immense building will replace the existing, outdated building that currently acts as the National Art Museum of China.
Hadid’s concepts for the project were predictably curvaceous, with draped folds characterising the building’s façade and three clearly individual volumes - two masses sitting atop a banded ground-floor level. In contrast, Gehry’s proposal had a basic cuboid form with a series of cylindrical forms erupting from the centre and organic silhouettes of trees gracing the exterior, finished with abstract patterns and a translucent façade. Nouvel’s (allegedly winning) design is yet to be released.