Christian de Portzamparc – Pritzker Winner

by Ofentse Sefolo
Christian de Portzamparc – Pritzker Winner

Born in 1944, Christian de Portzamparc, a leading architect and urban planner, was the first French winner of the most prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize at the age of 50. He was also the winner of the city planning prize in France, The Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme.

His architectural style is known for its distinctive features such as bold designs and an artistic approach and creativity that comes from him being a watercolour painter. He is especially esteemed as a designer of concert halls, operas and as an urban planner.

He studied architecture in Paris and New York and became famous for his design of the rue des Hautes Formes in Paris and the large-scale project for François Mitterrand called the City of Music (1995). It involved creating music halls of different sizes and a music museum.

His significant works include NexusⅡ (1991), a residential complex in Fukuoka, LVMH Tower (1991), two skyscrapers, the One57 (2014) and the Prism tower (2016) in New York, the Philharmonie of Luxembourg (2005), the City of Arts (2013), a cultural complex in Rio de Janeiro, the Paris la Défense Arena (2017), an indoor stadium in Nanterre on the outskirts of Paris and the Shangyin Opera House in Shanghai (2019). Currently he is engaged in large scale projects such as the Great Theatre of Casablanca, the largest theatre in Africa and the Suzhou Cultural Centre in China that was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

As one of the keynote speakers at Revestir 2021’s architects day, he shared a selection of his current and most recent projects via the new digital platform.

165 ha masterplan with 2.000.000 m² for 5 800 residences and 45 000 workspaces, 2 hotels of 200 rooms each at 20 000m², culture, leisure, restaurants, retail, parks, squares and promenades

Currently Europe’s largest inner-city development project, HafenCity is in the heart of the maritime city of Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, on the northern flank of the river Elbe.

The project replaces an outdated industrial harbour in a central city location and transforms an underused area into a walkable and bikeable mixed use ‘knowledge-economy’ area with new offices, community facilities, residential and leisure areas and a high number of public spaces. HafenCity Hamburg is a heterogeneous development. Next to working offices, leisure and retail uses, it includes cooperative housing, community housing, as well as luxury housing next to each other.

Designing what is to be a new landmark in HafenCity cityscape, a new vertically sculpted building was conceptualised as a figure rising over the Elbe river, whilst defining the entrance to the Magdeburger Hafen port. It also had to echo the other end of the district where the Elbphilharmonie Opera House rises from the ground, with the idea of the vertical volume forming a sculpted object that stands out as the neighbourhood’s latest landmark.

To achieve this verticality, the building was structured into three vertical parts, with an interplay between river and sky. The building is divided into three elements by two vertical fault lines that intersect at the open-space levels at one third of its length. These connections of the open-space levels house the floor lobbies and provide a welcoming space with uninterrupted views of HafenCity from east to west.

A skewed section at the foot of the first volume provides a view to of the square towards the south entrance of the port. The volumes sides of the building extend above terraces level creating transparent and protective parapets.

The exterior façade is clad in a glass curtain wall, with each of the three cutglass facets having been designed to capture and reflect the natural light emanating from the river and sky. This remarkable glass structure has been placed at the centre of the riverfront and acts as the entrance to the central district via the Magdeburger Hafen.

SURFACE AREA: 95 000m² | HEIGHT: 200m | 100m
Two high-rise building Building-ship: Swimming pool, Fitness | Restaurant |
Auditorium Offices: 74 000m² | West Tower
Hotel complex: 21 000m² | East Tower

This project is in the heart of the vast business district of La Défense, between the two emblematic buildings, the CNIT and La Grande Arche. The client requested that the building be designed as two towers, which at its centre is linked by a manned bridge to facilitate movement between the towers.

The client’s offices were to be housed in the West Tower, where each office was developed in pairs with open view and planted terrace-gardens. The East Tower was designed to accommodate an international 4-star hotel and a hotel residence with double height terraces and a staircase connecting the hotel’s reception area and mezzanine level. In addition to the building’s exceptional exterior design, it also needed to cater for access to the railway lines in its basement level, which ultimately played a large part in the overall construction of the project.

For this reason, the two towers had to be extended beyond the polygon as it formed the basis for their foundations. As a result, their surface height is cantilevered towards the esplanade with each tower covered by a protective glass skin, which has been silkscreened with thin white lines, filtering out UV rays without it obstructing the view.

The bridge building between the two towers crosses the Carpeaux footbridge and houses an auditorium, a restaurant opening onto a terrace, a fitness centre and a swimming pool. The restaurant-bar features a unique suspended viewpoint, halfway up the surrounding towers, revealing spectacular panoramic views of Paris and La Défense.

MOROCCO – CASABLANCA – 2009 › 2020
SURFACE AREA: 20 245m²

Africa’s largest new Art Theatre consists of a multi-purpose hall with 1 800 seats, a flexible theatre with 600 seats, amplified music room, public rehearsal rooms, special events rooms and “cultural intensity” place, shops, restaurant, café, digital space, space for reading, library, showroom and art gallery.

In Casablanca, the large Mohammed V square, a classic 1920s rectangular space inherited from Marshal Hubert Lyautey and urban planner Henri Prost. On the remaining free side of Mohammed V Square, the city decided to build “the Great Theatre of Casablanca”, which will be Africa’s largest new art theatre. Winner of the international design competition held in July 2009 saw Christian de Portzamparc’s project announced as the overall winner along other esteemed entries by Zaha Hadid, Frank O. Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and Aziz Lazrak. Christian’s winning project consists of several pavilions which were inspired by a medina in the Casablanca.

Instead of an autonomous, univocal architectural object, the fluid ensemble interacts with symmetry without breaking up each of its elements. The building invites visitors to enter another world through its several slim and compelling rifts and entrance, leading into a voluminous public gallery with striking red pillars.

The building’s simple all white exterior and rifts draw passers-by into the shade. Acting as the chiaroscuro of the path and its passageways, where visitors can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, in the cool fresh air.

A terracotta and resin moucharaby veil unfold across the buildings to reveal an outdoor theatre. Once the doors are open, the stage appears, and the Great Theatre once again welcomes its audience.

For more information visit: www.exporevestir.com.br.

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