The Philharmonie de Paris, sight from the Parc de la Villette © Artefactory
Jean Nouvel, the famous French architect, has decided to boycott the opening of the new modern concert hall, the Philharmonie de Paris.
Some of Nouvel's detractors have made allegations about cost overruns of the project. In a statement, the French architect defends himself against those allegations: "I will not tolerate that untruthful, defamatory and disparaging writings or comments are made about me."
Later, he adds: "Today, the Philharmonie de Paris opens. Too early. The building is not finished."
Competing with New York, Tokyo or Berlin concert halls
The President of the Philarmonie de Paris, Laurent Bayle, says "Paris was not at the level of other capitals." With the new, modern and audacious concert hall, "We are up to the task", while recognizing that parts of the site construction will continue for a few months.
Jean Nouvel full statement
"Numerous articles published recently in the press and reports broadcast on television establish a direct link between cost overruns in the budget of the Philharmonie de Paris and alleged modifications of the project that are attributed to me. These charges are unfounded and highly prejudicial to me and to Ateliers Jean Nouvel. I will not tolerate that untruthful, defamatory and disparaging writings or comments are made about me.
I affirm that in no case was I at the origin of any cost overrun on this project. The public report of Cour des Comptes of February 2012 evokes 'poor piloting', 'many delays related to the fluctuations of the public arbitrations' which 'obviously influenced the cost of the operation'.
The public report of the French Senate of October 17th, 2012 evokes 'initial underestimated costs' before the launching of the competition and specifies the main reasons of overruns, which have nothing to do with me. For example: 'expenses of the client', 'purchases of first equipment', expenses of 'site interface', 'fee expenses', 'insurance', 'taxes', 'repercussions of revisions of price', 'chaotic' tendering 'passed under doubtful legal conditions' which 'did not favor lowering of the costs'. At last, additional area was added to the program by the Philharmonie de Paris.
Today, the Philharmonie de Paris opens. Too early. The building is not finished. There were no acoustic tests of the concert hall. The schedule did not allow the architectural and technical requirements to be respected. This despite all the warnings which I have been giving since 2013.
In September 2013, in the French edition of Vanity Fair, Pierre Boulez declared: 'The concert hall will have to be broken in and tested by orchestras to regulate the acoustics. It is useless to open it too early. In spring 2015, at the end of the season, the biggest orchestras of the world would be invited for exceptional performances but at reduced prices. The true season would begin in September with the Orchestre de Paris'. Now, hours before its opening, let us declare with Pierre Boulez that the Philharmonie is 'en rodage' [work in progress]. This fall, when the construction is completed, it will be time to inaugurate it peacefully and with dignity."
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