The Les Grandes Tables restaurant, by Architect Jean Nouvel, makes innovative use of a salvaged shipping container (the former property of automaker Renault) by elevating the container and surrounding it with a clear case. The result is a simple but beautiful exposure of the innards of the building, similar to the effect of an x-ray. The structure’s clear exterior and a retractable roof allow natural ventilation and light while seamlessly interacting with the adjacent garden and greenhouse. Architectural lighting, illuminated at night around the building’s edges, centers the building as a beacon of design for the surrounding neighborhood, and the ramp approaching the dining space evokes the Promenade Plantée in Paris or the High Line in New York City. The restaurant is the first phase of Nouvel’s ambitious plan to revitalize the neglected Seguin Island neighborhood in Western Paris to become the city’s newest cultural and tourist destination (the completion of Nouvel’s vision for the neighborhood is expected in 2013). The restaurant is currently serving large meetings and weddings, employing famous French Chef Arnaud Daguin, who serves locally sourced regional cuisine.
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The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award was launched in 1987 to highlight excellence in contemprary construction. Awarded to six European projects, the Award draws attention to the major contribution by European professionals to the development of new ideas and technologies. This year, the six finalists were selected from 340 projects from 33 European countries.
The six finalists for the 2011 Mies van der Rohe Award are:
- Bernard Tschumi for the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece
- David Chipperfield for the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany
- Zaha Hadid for the MAXXI Museum in Rome, Italy
- Jean Nouvel for the Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark
- Martine De Maeseneer for the Bronks Youth Theatre in Brussels, Belgium
- Koen van Velsen for the Rehabilitation Centre Groot Klimmendaal in Arnhem, Netherlands
At the ceremony in Barcelona on June 20, 2011, two works will be honored by the jury: one will receive the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in recognition of its conceptual, technical and constructional qualities, and the other will receive the Emerging Architect Special Mention.