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100 11th Avenue

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel, at his best, makes the world seem more exciting, intensive, glamorous, not exactly as we had previously pictured it. When budget and site and program align, the French master and his team produce habitable objects (the Saint-James Hotel near Bordeaux; the Fondation Cartier in Paris; the proposed National Museum of Qatar) that allow us reconsider our place in the world. These iterations of Nouvel’s constant engagement with contemporary life are descendants of Le Corbusier’s machines à habiter, at once functionalist and stylish. They signal not - as often feared by Anglophonic critics of Modernism - the industrialized constriction of freedom but rather the promise of visual and spatial liberation.
100 11th Avenue is already a landmark, a shimmering marker where the strict urban grid of Manhattan meets 11th Avenue, the busy West Side Highway, and the tassel-like fringe of...

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