Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Starchitects in Provence

Did everyone know about this but me? Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster and Tadao Ando, some of the very biggest names in architecture today, are at work on a new art center, restaurant and small hotel at Chateau La Coste winery in Aix.

A self-taught architect and Pritzker Prize winner, Ando drafted the art center’s master plan and designed its 3,000-square-meter (32,000-square-feet) main gallery. The center, opening next year, features a music pavilion designed by Gehry, a wine cellar by Nouvel, and other structures by Piano and Foster, all Pritzker laureates.

“We’re creating a space filled with water and the gallery will appear to float on top of it,” Ando told Bloomberg.com (which is where I just read it). The location holds special meaning, he says, because “Aix-en-Provence is the home of Paul Cezanne, the father of contemporary art.”

The project, in the French countryside famed for inspiring Cezanne and Van Gogh, aligns with Ando's desire to “create spaces for appreciating the intersection of nature with history and art,” he said. Earlier this year, he refurbished the interior of a 17th-century customs house in Venice, the Punta della Dogana, turning it into a contemporary art museum for Gucci’s billionaire owner Francois Pinault.

The new art center was commissioned by Irish property developer Patrick McKillen, a friend of Bono of the rock band U2. Ando is also designing McKillen's new home on the Irish coast.

Read the Bloomberg story here.

Photo: Chateau La Coste in Aix.


  1. I didn't know about it, either. Thanks for the news - sounds wonderful.

  2. Hey! Thanks for following me on Blogger. Really glad to come across your blog, it looks great. Looking forward to reading it!

  3. Will definitely have to see that when it opens. Had not heard about it. Thanks!