The French architect Paul Andreu, a prestigious designer known for having built airports in more than 50 countries, died on Thursday in Paris at the age of 80. He concluded a life dedicated to a discipline that came almost by chance, after studying Engineering and Fine Arts, which would allow him to combine two facets of his personality: mathematical rigor and poetic vision. His last appearance in public was last Monday, when Andreu dined at the Pompidou Center in Paris with other architects such as Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, Dominique Perrault or Christian de Portzamparc, during an evening in tribute to the Japanese Tadao Ando. Unlike the so-called starquitectosAndreu was a discreet man who never pursued glory.
Born in 1928 in Caudéran, a wealthy neighborhood on the outskirts of Bordeaux, Andreu He left for Paris at the end of his adolescence to be trained in the French elite centers. His first big assignment came with only 27 years: the construction of the second airport in the capital, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, which was completed in 1974. Terminal 1, a retrofuturist cylinder where a series of rolling corridors intersect in a vacuum interior, marked a time. Also Terminal 2, mastodon bathed in light that became a symbol of progress in the France of Pompidou. "Politicians did not care about airports. The only thing that motivated them was to reach the Americans, "he told Télérama in 2017. "On the other hand, for my generation, the simple fact of flying was a delicious transgression".
Three years after Charles de Gaulle finished, Andreu He won the Architecture Grand Prize in 1977. He then became the most requested architect for the projection of terminals. His were also the airports of Nice, Bordeaux, Shanghai, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Pointe-à-Pitre, Manila, Jakarta, Dar-es-Salam or Brunei. Until Andreu got tired and decided to change course. "They say of me that I am an airport architect. I aspire to the title of architect to dry, "he said Libération in 2003. Months later, one of its buildings in Charles de Gaulle collapsed, causing the death of four people. The accident affected a lot to Andreu, who never fully recovered from that trauma. He decided to put aside the airports, after 40 years of dedicating himself to it, and decided to reinvent himself.
Andreu started to work repeatedly in China, then in full deployment of infrastructure. Its most pharaonic construction was the Beijing National Grand Theater, a floating oval on water, compared to an egg or a jellyfish, and with a capacity for 6,500 people, which ended in 2007 after eight years of work. Andreu would not stop working in Asia, where he built the Osaka Maritime Museum or the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai. Although, apart from its airport work, its most outstanding project is the Arc de La Défense, a new business district on the west border of Paris, which Andreu erected in 1988 from an original design by the Danish Otto von Spreckelsen.