Christian de Portzamparc is a leading architect and urban planner, who was awarded with the Pritzker Architecture Prize at the age of 50 as the first French winner and also with the most prestigious city planning prize in France, The Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme. His architectural style is known for its distinctive features such as bold designs, an artistic approach and the creativity that comes with him being a watercolor painter. De Portzamparc is well regarded for his projects that blend together classical forms, modernist radicalism, and postmodern, nonconformist approaches to design.

Christian de Portzamparc’s new architecture is of our time,  bound neither by classicism nor modernism. His expanded perceptions and ideas seek answers beyond mere style. It is a new architecture characterized by seeing buildings, their functions and the life within them, in new ways that require wide-ranging, but thoughtful exploration for unprecedented solutions.

Every architect who aspires to greatness must in some sense reinvent architecture; conceive new solutions; develop a special design character; find a new aesthetic vocabulary. Portzamparc’s work exhibits all these characteristics. He has an unusually clear and consistent vision, devising highly original spaces that serve a variety of functions on an urban scale in the Cite’ de la Musique, or a more personal individual scale in a housing project or the delightfully chic Cafr Beaubourg.
He is a gifted composer using space, structure, texture, form, light and color all shaped by his personal vision. This reinvented architecture, no matter how idiosyncratic or original, still has its common source in modernism, appropriately assimilated.

His is an architecture that draws on French cultural tradition while paying homage to the master architect and countryman, Le Corbusier. It is a lyrical architecture that takes great risks and evokes excitement from its audience. Portzamparc is a high wire artist with sure and confident footwork. Recognizing the talent of a powerful poet of forms and creator of eloquent spaces, who is aware of the past.

christian de portzamparc

Completed in 1990, the west wing of the Paris Conservatoire accommodates teaching facilities for 1,200 students over a surface area of 40,000 sq.m. More than 5,000 people work and teach here and the building attempts to provide a space for everyone (each discipline, each “tribe”, has its own quarters) and to create a large network of movement and spaces where students can meet freely.

These vertical and horizontal “streets” offer 186 different rooms for studying, set around a garden and a small opera house, an organ hall and a multi-purpose orchestra hall. It’s a modern monastery open onto the city and completes the long sweep of the avenue Jean-Jaurès with a large curved white façade punctuated by regular transparent forms reflected in a pool of water.


Cité De La Musique, Paris, France – East Wing

1984 – 1995

City of Music, known throughout Europe as one of the Grands Projets, has been praised in the architectural press around the world. Spain’s Interior Architecture and Design (Diseño Interior) magazine said of City of Music:

“A building with lyric qualities, full of whiteness and opacity, it is the antithesis of the ethereal transparencies and other technological approaches so typical of the new French academicism.” The formal opening is scheduled for early in 1995.

The City of Music, Paris, France

Flagship Dior, Seoul, South Korea

2011 – 2015

The building was designed by de Portzamparc for a corner plot in the luxury Gangnam shopping district, and also includes a gallery and cafe. Inspired by high fashion creations of Dior, the building is a manifesto with its white lines which wave towards the sky in a subtle asymmetry, evocation of the canvas, genesis of all haute couture pieces. After several months of research and works, Christian de Portzamparc delivers in June, 2015 his building with its volutes of the facade, these hulls, executed as boat hulls, in fiber glass, with very impressive sizes.

Flagship Dior, Seoul, South Korea

Musée Hergé, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

2001 – 2009

A museum dedicated to Belgian artist and Tintin author Hergé, it opened earlier on May 2009 in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. The  Musée Hergé  is situated in a forest and connected to the city of Louvain-la-Neuve by a footbridge. The volume of the museum is an elongated prism which seems to float in a forest of mature trees.
Christian de Portzamparc designed it as strong architecture, space of surprises, events and colors. The route is an almost narrative sequence, prolonging the art of the “ligne claire” style and the color, in a space-tribute in the work of Hergé and in the comic strip.

Musée Hergé, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

In Casablanca, the large Mohammed V square, a classic 1920s rectangular space inherited from Marshal Hubert Lyautey and urban planner Henri Prost, is bordered by the wilaya by architect Charles Boyer, the law courts and long, ordered administrative buildings. On the last free side of Mohammed V Square, the city has decided to build “the Great Theater of Casablanca ”, which will be the largest theater in Africa. The international competition held in July 2009 saw Christian de Portzamparc’s project win among featured projects by Zaha Hadid, Frank O. Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and Aziz Lazrak. The winning project consists of several pavilions inspired by a medina in the city.

Instead of an autonomous, univocal architectural object, the fluid ensemble interacts with the symmetry without breaking it up and invites visitors to penetrate into the shade of another inner world by opening several rifts and entrances, slim and compelling, leading to a large and high public gallery that crosses the space, formed from curved red staff pillars.


Situated at the corner of Park Avenue and 28th Street, the building comprises two main sections complemented by a vertical pavilion on each side.
The space opened between the tower and its surroundings tempers the “light shaft” pheno-menon. The prismatic design of the volumes gathers light while optimizing views onto the streets to provide a perspective into the far distance and takes into account the necessary recess towards the avenue.


To perfect the wine production process at Château Cheval Blanc, owners Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frère asked Christian de Portzamparc to build a new streamlined winery or “workshop” with large concrete curved tanks designed by the architect at the request of the director Pierre Lurton, who wanted this material for the fermenting room.

Outside, the lines of the concrete walls transform the winery into a promontory-belvedere extending out from the château, onto which you can climb to admire the vineyard’s beautiful landscape which has been shaped by human hand over the centuries.

No line is superfluous and every element helps perfect the wine-making process and practices, as allowed for by the setting – the geometry of the curved surfaces and their pre-cast concrete, the unique atmosphere created by the natural light flowing to the ground, brushing the load-bearing walls and flowing over the large concrete sculptures in the fermenting room.


The Philharmonie is located on the Kirchberg plateau, at the center of a triangular square surrounded by EU administrative offices. Christian de Portzamparc wanted to plant a ring of trees which would be necessary to cross in order to enter the complex devoted to music, encouraging visitors to forget their surroundings. There was not enough room to plant trees, so he rapidly came up with the idea of a vast peristyle composed of 827 vertical lines constituting a foyer around the Grand Auditorium. It filters the light, enabling the public to either see or forget their surroundings. This façade-filter envelopes the lobby, which forms a long peristyle surrounding the concert hall and boxes.

The section around the great hall resembles “cliffs” punctuated by strips of light through which the public enters the concert hall balconies at different levels via a long footbridge. The Grand Auditorium has eight balcony-towers placed vertically around the orchestra and orchestra pit. Thus, the audience is gathered around the musicians. The Chamber Music Hall is a volume forming an asymmetrical curved petal winding around the main building.


This new opera house is located on Fenyang and Huaihai Road. The building has a great public entrance at the corner of these two important streets of the historical French district. Rather than a massive unique building the opera is built as a sequence of pavilions, following the rhythm and the height of the existing architecture including, on Fenyang road the existing recent building of the conservatory. The color and texture of the pavilions is respecting a brick pattern aspect.

An opera hall is a musical instrument. This one was to be conceived as a classical traditional one, respecting the acoustical qualities of the u-shape model. Nevertheless, it is designed in a new way to give good visibility from everywhere as well as good acoustic for both classical and romantic repertory through a variation of reverberation time.


Source: christiandeportzamparc.com

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