Jean Nouvel, winner of the 2008 Pritzker Prize, is widely regarded as France's most original and important contemporary architect. From 1967 to 1970 he assisted influential architects Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, before creating his own practice in Paris. His first widely acclaimed project was the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris (1981-87). Since then he has completed the Lyon Opera House and the Fondation Cartier, Paris. His major completed projects since 2000 include the Culture and Convention Center in Lucerne, Switzerland, the spectacular Agbar Tower in Barcelona, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Hotel Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom with shopping mall. Jean Nouvel was the 2001 recipient of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. In his citation, Peter Cook said of Nouvel: "In an age of blandness, imitation, or doubt, his work shines through as having both clarity and finesse, originality and lyricism."