Sir Norman Foster, arguably the leader of a generation of British architects, turns 79 today. Foster gained recognition as early as the 1970s as a key architect in the high-tech movement, which continues to have a profound impact on architecture as we know it today.
Foster’s architecture is remarkably diverse; he has designed skyscrapers, offices, galleries, airports, stadiums, parliament buildings, city masterplans and even a spaceport. Yet his work is unified by one theme, identified in the jury citation for his 1999 Pritzker Prize: “from his very first projects, it was evident that he would embrace the most advanced technology appropriate to the task”. It is this devotion to the latest architectural technology that earned him his place in the high-tech movement, with buildings such as the Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.
Since these early successes, his practice Foster + Partners has been prolific, earning Foster two Stirling Prizes, an RIBA Gold Medal, an AIA Gold Medal and a knighthood in addition to his Pritzker Prize. Designs such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, The Gherkin in London, The Hearst Tower in New York and Masdar City have ensured that Foster has secured his place as one of the greatest architects of the 21st century. On the occasion of Sir Norman Foster’s birthday, we invite you to look at some of the outstanding projects from his exceptional career.