The financial dispute between architect Jean Nouvel and the Philharmonie de Paris is settled

The architect Jean Nouvel and the Philharmonie de Paris have concluded “a transactional agreement” putting an end to the financial dispute which has opposed them since 2017 on the construction site of the prestigious concert hall, they announced Thursday in a joint press release.

The Philharmonie de Paris claimed 170 million euros from the architect, because of the additional costs incurred during the construction. Jean Nouvel had lodged a complaint in October 2019, then obtained the opening of a judicial investigation last February for “favoritism, illegal taking of interests, embezzlement of public funds, embezzlement, forgery and use of forgery” by the financial prosecutor’s office.

Request for aborted conciliation, summary launched by the Philharmonie to obtain penalties for delay with request for legal expertise followed one after the other during the work. Results: the Philharmonie completes the work “by managing companies alone, without the knowledge of the architect”, according to the ex-complainant. Costs and delays are exploding.

Once the general statement had been taken, the Philharmonie would have claimed more than 170.6 million euros from AJN, i.e. an amount “fourteen times greater than the amount of fees” perceived by the project manager, indicated the architectural firm in its complaint.

He is a “undeniable fact that the building constructed does not conform on many points to the drawing and the instructions“by Jean Nouvel, he reproached again.

From now on, “it is brought to an end in a fully satisfactory manner for each of the parties to all their disputes, all areas combined, in particular on costs and deadlines”, write the architect and the Philharmonie.

Both camps now consider that these disputes were the consequence of differences and misunderstandings, decided to overcome them by engaging in a dialogue in order to see respect and protect the cultural public interest “, they add.

Project management, provided by Jean Nouvel and the company Ateliers Jean Nouvel (AJN), and the public establishment of the Cité de la musique-Philharmonie de Paris “no longer have any claim, of any nature whatsoever, towards each other, including in respect of intellectual property rights resulting from the realization of the Philharmonie de Paris”, continue the parties.

Jean Nouvel, AJN and the Philharmonie de Paris “desist and definitively renounce all claims, proceedings and actions, before any jurisdiction whatsoever”.

Both parties also announce “to have agreed on the realization of a program of additional works, decided within the framework of a budget of 15 million euros decided in agreement with the State”, which will be produced under the supervision of AJN and Jean Nouvel.

Costed at 173 million euros at the launch of the project in 2006, construction work reached 386 million euros. For the Ateliers Jean Nouvel, this overrun was explained by the faulty management of the Philharmonie. For the latter, it was attributable to the architect, accused of having greatly underestimated the costs and of having carried out “permanent changes“.

In April 2017, the public institution responsible for managing the room sent an invoice for 170.6 million euros to the architect, including 110 million euros for late payment penalties. When the architect lodged a complaint, the Philharmonie had denounced “unfounded accusations” and “the contrary claims of Ateliers Jean Nouvel which demand more than 105 million euros in additional remuneration and allowances“.

The multi-awarded architect had refused to participate in the inauguration of the concert hall, located in the north of the capital, on January 14, 2015.

The musical multiplex, installed in the Parc de la Villette to complete the Cité de la Musique, includes, in addition to an auditorium with 2,400 seats, rehearsal and exhibition rooms, recording studios and a restaurant. The monumental project covers a total of 20,000 m2, mainly financed by the City of Paris and the State.

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