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Carnegie close to settling with architect Nouvel

Thursday, November 20, 2003

By Patricia Lowry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is close to reaching a financial settlement with Parisian architect Jean Nouvel, who was hired in 2002 to design a $90 million addition to Carnegie Science Center.

Carnegie Museums terminated Nouvel's contract in May for failing to produce a scheme that could be built for that amount.

The institution already had paid his firm, Atelier Jean Nouvel, about $1 million of the $4.5 million it had agreed to pay for design services. But the museums withheld an additional $171,000 that Nouvel had billed, according to an audit by the accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Neither Carnegie Museums nor Nouvel's office would comment on the amount the architect has received.

"That's a private matter between us and the museum, as are the terms of the settlement," said Brian Wait, Nouvel's director of operations.

The $1 million fee is not considered out of line, given the firm's international stature and the plans it had produced before being dismissed.

Carnegie Museums spokeswoman Betsy Momich said a science center expansion would be built, but who will design it and how the architect will be selected has not been decided.

"I don't have a timetable yet or what options we will or will not be looking at," Momich said.

"Our goal was to reach a resolution with Atelier Jean Nouvel as quickly as possible, which we hope to do soon.

"Now that we have a new director for the science center, we'll move to the next stage of planning for the future."

Post-Gazette architecture critic Patricia Lowry can be reached at or 412-263-1590.

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