€390m concert hall opens, two years late and three times over budget, amid bitterness and controversy as architect boycotts inauguration
Jean Nouvel's Philharmonie de Paris opened on Wednesday amid bitterness and controversy, as the French architect boycotted the inauguration of his building, claiming it was "not finished".
Workers were rushing to put finishing touches this week to the €390m, 2,400-seat concert hall, a hulking building with textured, aluminium cladding that completed two years late and three times over its original budget.
Nouvel released a statement explaining his absence and defending himself against accusations that his practice was partly responsible for the overruns. "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," he said. "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."
"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."
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Images: Yves Chanoit, William Beaucardet, Julien Mignot