Which Architects Are Most Admired By Other Architects?

Foster + Partner’s Apple Campus II. Image © City of

As part of their annual research for the World Architecture Top 100, Building Design (BD) has compiled a list of which architects are most admired by their colleagues from across the globe. Last year’s results were somewhat predictable, with Foster + Partners leading and Renzo Piano’s Building Workshop and Herzog + de Meuron close behind. According to BD, “this year saw a trend towards more commercial names.”

This year’s “most admired” list includes:

Foster and Heatherwick Collaborate to Design Shanghai Finance Center

Courtesy of

Foster + Partners has joined forces with Heatherwick Studio to design the new Bund Finance Centre (BFC) in the heart of historic . The mixed-use, waterfront destination will serve as the “end point” to the city’s most famous street, as well as a prime connection between the old town, the Bund, and the new financial district.

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

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 parts two and three, Massey examined the building’s treatment of risks associated with climate change 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 Jonathan Massey & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines , the London office tower designed by , 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 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 Airport 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.

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon

How does design change the nature and distribution of risk? In this, the first of four installments examining , the London office tower and urban icon designed by Foster + Partners, author Jonathan Massey introduces the concept of “risk design.” The series, originally published on Aggregate’s website, explains how the Gherkin leveraged perceptions of risk to generate profits, promote economic growth, and raise the currency of design expertise.

Designing Risk

Back the Bid. Leap for London. Make Britain Proud. Emblazoned across photomontages of oversized athletes jumping over, diving off, and shooting for architectural landmarks old and new, these slogans appeared in 2004 on posters encouraging Londoners to support the city’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Featured twice in the series of six posters—along with Buckingham Palace, Nelson’s Column, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and the Thames Barrier—was 30 St Mary Axe, the office tower known colloquially as the Gherkin for its resemblance to a pickle, or as the Swiss Re building, after the Zurich-based reinsurance company that commissioned the building and remains its major tenant.

VIDEO: Norman Foster on Apple’s Cupertino Campus

© , ARUP, Kier + Wright, OLIN, Apple

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 Cupertino 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.”

Unanimous Approval for Apple’s Cupertino Campus

Courtesy of MacRumors.com

UPDATE: Although having already cleared a preliminary vote, the HQ was given unanimous approval from the Cupertino council yesterday. One “largely perfunctory” vote remains for November 15th. Detailed images, after the break.

Richard Nieva (CNET) reports that plans for Apple’s new corporate headquarters have been approved by Cupertino’s planning commission (the final, deciding vote will be in May November 2014). The “spaceship”, designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with Kier & Wright, will cover 2.8 million square feet, host up to 14,000 employees, include ”a 600-seat restaurant with four-story glass sliding doors”, be surrounded by over 6000 trees, and – to top it off – come with a price tag close to $5 billion.

Free University’s Philology Library / Foster + Partners

© Reinhard Gorner

Architects: Foster + Partners
Location: Free University of Berlin, Koserstraße 20, 14195 Berlin,
Architects In Charge: Norman Foster, David Nelson, Stefan Behling, Christian Hallmann, Ulrich Hamann, Ingo Pott
Project Team: Bettina Bauer, Stefan Baumgart, Florian Boxberg, Mark Braun, Niels Brockenhuus-Schack, Andre Heukamp, Stanley Fuls, Ulrich Goertz, Wendelin Hinsch, Andreas Medinger, Jan Roth, Diana Schaffrannek, David Schröder, Mark Sutcliffe, Hugh Whitehead
Year: 2005
Photographs: Reinhard Gorner, Nigel Young – Foster + Partners, Rudi Meisel

If Skyscrapers Predict Crises, What Do “Donuts” Tell Us?

HQ (USA). Image © Foster + Partners, ARUP, Kier + Wright,

In a recent article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote explores the ‘Skyscraper Index’, an informal term that suggests a correlation between the construction of a company’s ambitious headquarters and subsequent financial crisis: “Think of the Empire State Building opening into the Wall Street crash of 1929, the Twin Towers being completed as New York City was flirting with bankruptcy or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur taking the mantle of the world’s tallest building and presaging the Asian financial crisis.” Heathcote goes on to describe the latest generation of headquarters being constructed for our current, tech-oriented goliaths – like Apple‘s monolithic “donut”, by Foster + Partners, and Facebook‘s Gehry-designed Menlo Park campus - and wonders: “if skyscrapers can tell us something about the temperature of an overheating economy, what do these groundscraping new HQs say?” Read the full article here.

Foster + Partners Designs Luxury Residential Tower in Manhattan

Courtesy of

Foster + Partners have just revealed a new design for a 19-story luxury condominium building at 551 West 21st Street, on the western side of Manhattan. The design features a cast concrete frame surrounding windows with a warmly colored metal trim that cover the full 11-foot floor to ceiling height.

Shortlist Unveiled for London’s new Scotland Yard

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Image Courtesy of Greater London Authority (GLA)

The RIBA and the ’s Office has revealed the five shortlisted designs for the new Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) headquarters, set for completion in 2015. The proposed designs, attracting submissions from Foster + Partners, Allies & Morrison, Keith Williams Architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, will be located in the Whitehall Conservation Area and be renamed back to ‘Scotland Yard’.

Read more after the break…

Apple Redesigns San Francisco Store to Preserve Historic Fountain

’ revised design for the new SF Store.. Image Courtesy of

Earlier this summer we reviewed plans for a new Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store in the heart of San Francisco which received a considerable amount of backlash for its accused ubiquitous design that disregarded the city’s historic Ruth Asawa Fountain. Since, Apple has decided to respond to the complaints and Foster + Partners have just released images of the revised design that preserves the fountain. 

Norman Foster Resigns from Moscow’s Pushkin Museum Expansion

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts via Wikipedia

has walked away from a $670 million expansion project for ’s largest museum of European art: The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. According to The Art Newspaper, the prized British architect resigned from the project back in June after ’s chief architect, Sergei Kuznetsov issued an ultimatum that demanded Foster either work and defend the project himself or turn it down.

Designing the Final Frontier

Courtesy of

Three months ago, Commander Chris Hadfield captured the attention of millions by recording a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity – entirely on board the International Space Station. The video was the culmination of five months of social media efforts to raise awareness and interest in current space programs worldwide, and it certainly seems that Hadfield succeeded in piquing the interest of at least a few future astronauts.

But for architects, something else probably stands out in the video: the ISS seems an extremely clinical and uncomfortable environment to live in for five months. The reasons for this are obvious: it is a highly controlled engineered environment; sending luxuries into orbit is expensive; the astronauts are there to work, and after all they are trained to cope in stressful and uncomfortable environments. However, with proposals for longer missions, such as a manned trip to Mars, as well as the continued promise of commercial spaceflight on the horizon, the design of living spaces outside of our own planet may soon become an issue which architects must get involved in.

Read on to find out about the challenges of architecture in space, after the break.

Campus Luigi Einaudi / Foster + Partners

Courtesy of Nigel Young - Foster + Partners

Architects: Foster + Partners, Marco Visconti
Location: Torino,
Project Manager: Piero Cornaglia, Antonio Presicce, Aldo Celano, Sabrina Gambino
Foster + Partners Design Team: David Nelson, Gerard Evenden, John Blythe, Martin Castle, Martina Meluzzi, Giulia Galiberti, Marilu Sicoli
Collaborators: Camerana & Partners – Benedetto Camerana, Giugiaro Architettura Srl – Aldo Cingolani, ICIS Srl – Cosimo Turvani, Mara Luciani, Studio Mellano Associati – Franco Mellano
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Nigel Young – Foster + Partners, Michele D’Ottavio, David Vicario

Foster + Partners Designs First Class Cabin

First Class Cabin designed by . © Steve Wong

Foster + Partners have completed their first project for a commercial aircraft: the first class cabin for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of Boeing 777s. The firm is no stranger to the marriage of architecture and ; they’ve not only designed yachts and private jets, but have also designed Cathay Pacific’s business lounges at Hong Kong International Airport, even developing bespoke furniture (The Solus Chair) for them as well. See more images of the lounge, after the break…

Five London Firms Shortlisted for Met Police HQ

Metropolitan Police Service Headquarters; Courtesy of RIBA Competitions

Five -based firms - AHMMAllies & MorrisonFoster & PartnersKeith Williams Architects and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands - have been selected to compete for the “Scotland Yard” redevelopment of the abandoned Curtis Green MPS building on the Victoria Embankment. As reported by BDOnline, the shortlisted firms will each propose a “landmark building for London” that will provide a “modern and efficient working environment” for the new Metropolitan Police Service Headquarters. The judging panel, spearheaded by architect Bill Taylor and RIBA Adviser Taylor Snell, will review the proposals in September.