Dominique Perrault

In my work, I seek to use the epidermis of our cities as a place of resources.

For more than thirty years, the architect Dominique Perrault has been a leading international figure in contemporary architecture. His projects, designed as part of a contextual whole, use contrast and detail as a way to shake up the established order. His thirst for innovation continues to grow alongside his international standing.

Published on 01/09/2020

2 min

The career of the architect and urban planner Dominique Perrault changed dramatically in the summer of 1989. Having dreamed of becoming a painter in his youth, he was still only 36 years old with a few modest achievements to his name when he won the competition to design the French National Library (Bibliothèque Nationale de France). The remarkable – and remarked upon – result already reflected what was to become the essence of his work. He continued to hone his very personal style in the major projects that followed, from the Olympic Velodrome and Swimming Pool in Berlin (1999) to repurposing the Rothschild Hospital (Hôpital Rothschild) (2017) and the Louvre Post Office (Poste du Louvre) (2020). His vision of his career is consistent with his commitment and the ongoing sharing of his knowledge, whether as a professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, as a lecturer in France and around the world, or as a member of the Scientific Council of the International Workshop on Greater Paris (Conseil Scientifique de l’Atelier International du Grand Paris).

Dominique Perrault’s architecture is intended to convey meaning: indivisible from its context, it is designed as both an extension of the landscape and a redevelopment of the urban fabric. Almost minimalist in its approach, its obvious stylistic simplicity conceals a great mastery of technique and materials, enhanced by his work on empty spaces, contrasts and underground buildings. He is a champion of “groundscape” architecture: an approach that seeks to explore the potential of subterranean spaces under cities, offering a resilient, aesthetic and sustainable response to a variety of urban challenges. By digging up the earth, he turns established order on its head and redefines scales and benchmarks. A symbol of his thirst for innovation and influence, he shares his vision via his DPAx research platform, which calls for “multidisciplinary dialogue to explore architecture from different perspectives”.

Buoyed by the success of the French National Library, Dominique Perrault went on to realise further prestigious projects around the world, including the extension of the European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg (2008), the Ewha Womans University in Seoul (2008), the Olympic Tennis Centre in Madrid (2009) and the DC Tower 1 in Vienna (2016). As his reputation grew, his work was displayed in some of the world’s leading museums, such as the monographic exhibition dedicated to him at the Centre Georges-Pompidou in 2008. Being appointed curator of the architecture section of the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2010 only added to his standing, resulting in his global recognition as one of the leading lights of contemporary French architecture. Little wonder, then, that he was entrusted with the design of the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the Paris 2024 Games.

  • 1989


    Dominique Perrault is selected by an international jury to design the French National Library.

  • 1990


    He is awarded the Prix de l'Équerre d'Argent (French architecture award) by Le Moniteur for the Hôtel Industriel Berlier.

  • 2010


    The architect is awarded the gold medal by the French Academy of Architecture for his body of work.

  • 2015


    He is elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts and is also awarded the Praemium Imperiale prize for Architecture.

  • 2018


    He delivers the new Paris Longchamp racecourse.

  • 2020


    After four years of work, the new and eagerly anticipated Louvre Post Office – designed by Dominique Perrault – will reopen its doors at the end of the year.

The Institut français and the artist

Dominique Perrault was curator of the French Pavilion at the 2010 Biennale in Venice and at the autumn 2021 Seoul Architecture Biennale.

The French Pavilion at the Venice International Art and Architecture Biennials is put on by the Institut français.
Find out more about the Venice International Art Biennial


L'institut français, LAB