Norman Foster Receives Inaugural BIA Award in Bilbao

Norman Foster has been rewarded for his work on Metro . Image © Flickr CC User Jacqueline Poggi

On the 26th of September, Norman Foster will be at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao as the inaugural recipient of the very first BIA (Bilbao Bizkaia Architecture) Award. Recognizing Foster’s contribution towards the development of Bizkaia through architecture and urban regeneration, the prize highlights Foster’s iconic original design for the Metro Bilbao stations in the Basque Country.

Norman Foster Joins Hollywood Stars in Petition Against Venice Cruise Ships

© Flickr CC User Ed Wohlfahrt

Over 50 Leading figures from architecture, art, film and fashion – Including Norman Foster, the director of London’s National Gallery Nicholas Penny, the director of the Guggenheim Foundation Richard Armstrong, and Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett, Michael Douglas, Julie Christie, Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton and Rob Lowe – have signed a petition pleading Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism, Dario Franceschini to keep large cruise ships out of Venice.

The petition, created by the UNESCO-backed Association of the International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice, says is a reaction to both the aesthetic intrusion caused by the cruise liners, but also what it believes is a “probable risk of catastrophe” due to the possible effects that such large ships could have on the fragile Lagoon surrounding Venice.

More on the cruise ship controversy after the break

Happy Birthday Sir Norman Foster

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 , 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.

Norman Foster Reasserts Belief in Thames Estuary Airport

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

In response to the UK Airports Commission’s call for evidence, Foster + Partners has released a detailed feasibility study supporting their plans for a new airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary. Their plan proposes a four-runway built on a 35 square kilometre platform constructed partially in the mouth of the Thames. The scheme is popularly called “Boris Island” thanks to its most prominent supporter, Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Norman Foster said “Since the Airports Commission submission a year ago, the need for increased airport capacity has become even more urgent. It is time to get serious about the issue of airport capacity. Britain needs an effective long-term solution, not the usual short-term fix that is Heathrow’s proposed third runway. London today needs to follow in the footsteps of its nineteenth-century forebears and invest boldly in infrastructure. Only long-term thinking will properly serve the demands of our future generations.”

Read on for a breakdown of the information contained in the report

AJ Ranks the UK’s 100 Top Architecture Practices

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has been named the UK‘s biggest architecture practice for the third year running in the annual AJ100 run by the Architects’ Journal. The list of the top 100 architecture practices in the UK, based on the number of fully qualified architects employed, was announced at an ceremony last night in London.

In the past year Foster + Partners has almost doubled its lead at the top of the list, with its 290 architects putting it 87 ahead of second-place rival BDP, showing how the practice dominates the architecture world not just culturally, but also in terms of business size.

See the top 10 UK practices, as well as the results of the accompanying Awards, after the break

Venice Biennale 2014: 100 Architects to Discuss “Time Space Existence”

studio sc, studio mk27 - marcio kogan + suzana glogowski + diana radomysler, shooting space, 2011

The Dutch non-profit Global Arts Affairs Foundation has summoned a diverse group of 100 architects from over 40 countries to participate in the Collateral Event “Time Space Existence” at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale

, Norman Foster and Eduardo Souto De Moura are among the many participating, showcasing ideas, research and aspirations that will add commentary about the current state of architecture as well as highlight philosophical questions and concepts regarding time, space and existence. 

A complete list of participants, after the break…

Norman Foster Receives Inaugural Isamu Noguchi Award

Norman Foster has been selected alongside artist Hiroshi Sugimoto to receive the inaugural Award. Presented by Motohide Yoshikawa, the ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, the award recognizes “individuals that share Japanese-American artist ’s commitment to innovation, global consciousness and Japanese/American exchange.” Watch an ArchDaily interview with Foster, after the break…

Norman Foster to Receive Isamu Noguchi Award

Courtesy of The Noguchi Museum

The Noguchi Museum will be honoring architect Norman Foster and contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto as the first recipients of the on Tuesday, May 13. The award acknowledges individuals whose work relates to landscape architect and artist Isamu Noguchi, who promoted a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach to the arts and was committed to innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese/American exchange. For more information on the benefit, see here.

Grade A Architecture: The World’s Most Spectacular University Buildings

Lecture halls at dizzying heights, libraries with glass-domed roofs or crooked seminar rooms with slanting walls – it is not just in the field of learning that universities have plenty to offer, but on an architectural level, too. From the historic Universiteitsbibliotheek KU Leuven of 1928 to the enormous glass sphere of the Philologische Bibliothek in Berlin to the brand-new, tent-like Campus Luigi Einaudi in Turin: Emporis, the international provider of building data, has compiled a selection of the most spectacular university buildings from around the world. 

2014 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship Call for Entries

The 2014 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has launched and is inviting applications from schools of architecture around the world. A £6,000 grant will be awarded to one student by a panel of judges which includes Lord Foster and the President of the .

First established in 2006, the scholarship is now in its seventh year and is intended to fund international research on a topic related to the survival of our towns and cities, in a location of the student’s choice. Past RIBA Norman Foster Scholars have travelled through the Americas, Europe, Africa, South East Asia, the Middle and the Far East, and Russia.

Proposals for research might include: learning from the past to inform the future; the future of society; the density of settlements; sustainability; the use of resources; the quality of urban life; and transport.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 25 April 2014. Further details and an application form can be downloaded from the RIBA website architecture.com/fosterscholarship.

Norman Foster Talks Meeting Niemeyer

and Lord Norman Foster in 2011. “He was in wonderful spirits—charming and, notwithstanding his 104 years, his youthful energy and creativity were inspirational.”. Image Courtesy of

In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Q&A: Norman Foster on Niemeyer, Nature and Cities“, Paul Clemence talks with Lord Foster about his respect for Niemeyer, their meeting shortly before the great master’s death, and how Niemeyer’s work has influenced his own.

Last December, in the midst of a hectic schedule of events that have come to define Art Basel/Design Miami, I found myself attending a luncheon presentation of the plans for the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, by Foster + Partners. While chatting with Lord Foster, I mentioned my Brazilian background and quickly the conversation turned to Oscar Niemeyer. Foster mentioned the talk he and Niemeyer had shortly before the Brazilian’s passing (coincidentally that same week in December marked the first anniversary of Niemeyer’s death). Curious to know more about the meeting and their chat, I asked Foster about that legendary encounter and some of the guiding ideas behind his design for the Norton.

Read on for the interview

OMA, Foster + Partners, Heatherwick Studio Recruited to Design ‘Faena District’ of Miami Beach

Faena Art Center. Image Courtesy of Faena

Alan Faena — prominent argentine developer  — is partnering with an all-star cast of celebrated artists, architects and Hollywood darlings to revive the decadence of the roaring twenties, envisioning a booming cultural “epicenter” for the city of Miami. The development, Faena Miami Beach, would include the restoration of the historic Saxony Hotel (the original symbol of opulent resorts along Florida beaches), the construction of new luxury apartments by Foster + Partners and the Rem Koolhaas/OMA-designed Faena Arts Center and Artist Residency. them all after the break.

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 4)

Courtesy Jonathan Massey & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by , terrorism, and globalization. In parts two and three, Massey examined the building’s treatment of risks associated with and terrorism. In this final installment, Massey concludes by addressing the building’s engagement with risks posed to the City of London by globalization. 

Unlike New York and other cities in which zoning codes entitle landowners to some kinds of development “as of right,” the City of London regulates property development through case-by-case review by planning officers, who judge how well the proposed construction conforms to City-wide plans and guidelines regarding factors such as building height, development density, access to transit, and impact on views and the visual character of the area. In order to develop the Gherkin, the property owners and Swiss Re had to secure planning consent from the City Corporation through its chief planning officer, Peter Wynne Rees. The review and permitting process that culminated in the granting of planning consent in August 2000 spanned the planning office as well as the market, the courts, and the press. Rees brokered a multilateral negotiation so intensive that we could almost say the building was designed by bureaucracy. Part of that negotiation entailed imagining and staging risk: climate risk, terrorism risk, and, especially, the financial risks associated with globalization.

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 3)

Courtesy of & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines , the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, Massey examined the building’s treatment of climate risk. In part three, below, he explains how the Gherkin redesigned the risk imaginary associated with terrorism.

Mornings the Zamboni scrubs the plaza. Moving across the pavement in parallel lines connected by tight turns, the sweeper cleans the stone of cigarette butts and spilled food and beer left the night before by the underwriters and bankers who patronize the bar and shops in the building’s perimeter arcade as well as the adjacent restaurant that in fair weather sets up outdoor tables and chairs.

By pulling away from its irregular property lines, the tower achieves almost perfect formal autonomy from its context. The gap between the circular tower base and trapezoidal site boundaries forms a privately owned public space, a civic and commercial amenity in this densely built part of the City. 

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 2)

Courtesy & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines The Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, below, Massey examines the Gherkin’s enclosure and ventilation systems in detail to explain how the building negotiated climate risk.

In a poster promoting London’s bid to host the Olympic Games, the Gherkin supported gymnast Ben Brown as he vaulted over the building’s conical peak. The image associated British athleticism and architecture as complementary manifestations of daring and skill, enlisting the Gherkin as evidence that London possessed the expertise and panache to handle the risk involved in hosting an Olympic Games.

But a poster created three years later offered a very different image. Created by activists from the Camp for Climate Action to publicize a mass protest at Heathrow against the environmental degradation caused by air travel, this poster shows the Gherkin affording only precarious footing to a giant polar bear that swats at passing jets as its claws grasp at the slight relief offered by spiraling mullions and fins.

VIDEO: Norman Foster on Apple’s Cupertino Campus

© Foster + Partners, ARUP, Kier + Wright, OLIN,

It has been a long road for Foster + Partners‘s team since first taking on the design for Apple’s new campus in 2009. Four years later, despite the criticism and budget concerns, plans for Apple’s corporate headquarters have been approved by Cupertino’s planning commission. A recent video from the  City Council reveals some insight into the design decisions, including statements by Sir Norman Foster. As Foster states in the video, CEO Steve Jobs called him “out of the blue” in 2009 and said, “It’s Steve: Hi Norman, I need some help.”

Four Post-War UK Buildings Given Heritage Status

The Spectrum Building / . Image © Richard Davies, Courtesy

Four post-war buildings, including the Spectrum Building by Norman Foster and Capel Manor House by Michael Manser, have been elevated to the Heritage List by the ’s Architecture and Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey. Upon announcing the news, the Minister commented that in spite of England’s ”fine and wonderful built heritage it’s sometimes forgotten that we have many outstanding modern buildings too.” His listings show that “architecture in this country is very much alive and well in the modern world.”

Read more about the buildings after the break…

Review: ‘Richard Rogers: Inside Out’ at the Royal Academy

Zip-Up House Concept drawing (1968) – courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © Richard and Su Rogers

“Architecture is too complex to be solved by any one person.”

Richard Rogers is an architect who understands the significance of collaboration. As a man with an intense social mind and a thirst for fairness in architectural and urban design, Rogers’ substantial portfolio of completed and proposed buildings is driven by the Athenian citizen’s oath of “I shall leave this city not less but more beautiful than I found it.”

In honor of his success, London’s Royal Academy () is currently playing host to a vast retrospective of Richard Rogers’ work, from his collaborations with Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, to the large-scale projects that define Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) today. The RA’s extensive has been condensed into a series of motifs that have defined his architectural work, punctuated by memorabilia which offer personal insights into how Rogers’ career has been shaped by the people he’s worked with and the projects that he has worked on.

Continue after the break for a selection of highlights from the exhibition.