Jean Nouvel files a complaint against the Philharmonie, which claims 170 million euros

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The Jean Nouvel Workshops have lodged a complaint for "concussion" and "favoritism" against the Philharmonie de Paris, which claims to the architect 170 million euros because of budgetary slippage that occurred during the construction of the concert hall, a- we learned Monday from concordant sources.

In its complaint, filed October 14 at the national financial prosecutor's office, the firm founded by the architect Jean Nouvel "vigorously" challenges the financial request sent by the public institution Philharmonie de Paris, deemed "exorbitant" and "unjustified".

At the origin of this claim: the soaring cost of the prestigious concert hall in Paris, increased from 173 million euros at the launch of the project in 2006 to 386 million euros at its inauguration in January 2015.

According to the Jean Nouvel Workshops, this overshoot is explained by the faulty management of the project by the Philharmonie itself. For the latter, it is instead attributable to the architect, accused of having greatly undervalued the cost of the site and to have made "permanent changes".

In April 2017, the institution responsible for managing the hall sent a € 170.6 million invoice to the architect. This request, confirmed by "enforceable title" in September 2017, includes late payment penalties estimated at 91 million euros.

For the Workshops, this amount "is totally disproportionate not only in absolute terms but also in relation to the sums actually collected" by the architect, namely 12 million euros in fees, according to the complaint consulted by the AFP.

"The facts are all the more unusual as" the Philharmonie "has chosen to pursue only the main contractor, excluding companies.This differentiated treatment finds no legitimate explanation," write the lawyers of the architect, William Bourdon and Vincent Brengarth.

For them, the demand of the Philharmonie is "concussion", namely the perception by an agent or a public institution sums he knows to be undue.

The lawyers also denounce facts of "favoritism" for service orders made with Bouygues, selected without the agreement of the architect. They finally accuse the Philharmonie of "false and use of forgery" for having signed documents of building sites with the header of the architectural firm, after being sidelined.

Jean Nouvel and the Philharmonie are engaged in a mediatic and judicial battle of arms since the inauguration of January 14, 2015, to which the architect had refused to participate, dissatisfied with the way the site had ended.

The Pritzker Prize 2008, which considers itself out of the project and therefore free to express itself, has even spoken of "sabotage", accusing the director of the Philharmonie of making "disastrous" decisions during the construction.

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