Three decades ago the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) Headquarters by Norman Foster emerged onto the architectural seen as an exemplary product of industrial design. The open layout with its exposed steel structure generated a powerful corporate identity for the bank. But the restrained atmosphere of white architectural lighting and the lack of distinctive façade lighting has lost its attractiveness after sunset. Now the colorful and dynamic relighting presents a remarkable example of how an architectural icon has shifted from a productivist ideology towards a scenographic image. To the western observer the multicolored light language may give off a playful impression, but to the local culture the transformation evokes grandiosity.
In an article for Reading Design, Norman Foster—a passionate aeronaut—describes how the groundbreaking design of the Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet," the iconic airplane envisioned by engineer Joseph "Joe" Sutter in the 1960s, remains timeless. Likening both its method of construction and means of operation to that of a typical building, Foster asserts that it speaks of "the international hotel style," which he supposes as appropriate: "people come and go, it does not have a great deal of character and it could be almost anywhere."
Back in September, Foster + Partners released details of their designs for a droneport in Rwanda, a humanitarian initiative that seeks to jumpstart and navigate the infrastructural challenges of emerging economies. In this video, Foster and others involved in the project explain the process of realizing the droneports, giving further details on its inclusion in this year’s Venice Biennale—with engaging new architectural visualizations to boot.
On May 28th, a selection of participants of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, including Rem Koolhaas and Norman Foster convened for the first of Alejandro Aravena's "Meetings on Architecture," a series of talks that will take place throughout the Biennale. Under the theme of INFRASTRUCTURE, each invited speaker was given the chance to explain stories behind their participating projects in the Biennale, and the floor was also opened up for questions from the audience.
However, as Aravena explains about the talks, “we have organized them around themes, but architecture by nature always integrates more than one dimension. These Meetings will thus be a way to get from the authors themselves the richness and complexity of the built environment, and what it takes to get things done.” While highlighting unique projects, topics at the first Meeting converged around the focus on shaping the urbanization of emerging economies and the socio-political process and effect of realizing each project. The rest of the speaking panel was comprised by Joan Clos, Andrew Makin and Grupo EPM.
Arguably the leading name of a generation of internationally high-profile British architects, Norman Foster (born 1 June 1935) - or to give him his full title Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank of Reddish, OM, HonFREng - 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.
Doing architecture is listening. - Norman Foster
Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Diébédo Francis Kéré and three other great architects come together in this Louisiana Channel video to share their thoughts on how to design for different cultures. For most of them, understanding context, collaborating with locals and using architecture to address larger social issues are what makes global architecture a success.
5,000 3D cameras to help preserve the architecture of a country torn by war; A team of Latin American architects that moved into Venezuela’s most dangerous neighborhoods in order to design and build with the community; A legendary architect who understood architecture’s relationship to the transformation of technology -- and whose projects have celebrated technology across a trajectory of multiple decades. These are the projects, initiatives and people who have proven to be leaders in 2015.
ArchDaily’s editorial team wanted to recognize these projects for their commitment to promoting practices in architecture that serve many, in all corners of the globe -- from Bolivia to London, from Chicago to Venice, from public spaces in favelas to projected drone-ports in Africa. These are the stories that have inspired us in 2015, and whose influence we hope to continue to see into 2016.
Ben Johnson is a painter preoccupied by realism – especially when it comes to the two-dimensional representation of architectural space. A British artist practicing in London, Johnson has been working professionally since the mid-1960s. In that time his extensive œuvre has encompassed painted cityscapes and prints to depictions of rooms designed—among others—by Norman Foster, John Pawson, I. M. Pei, and David Chipperfield.
If Lord Foster—perhaps one of the greatest architects of our time—feels as though he has "no power as an architect, none whatsoever," people tend to take notice. His support, thoughts and opinions, he tells The Observer's Rowan Moore, are his most influential tools: "advocacy, he says, is the only power an architect ever has." Their conversation, held ahead of the Urban Age Global Debates which are currently taking place in London, also touches upon the importance of infrastructure, the social role of the architect, and the growing—if not undervalued—urgency to readdress sustainability within the profession.
“As an architect you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future which is essentially unknown. The green agenda is probably the most important agenda and issue of the day […] all the projects which have, in some way, been inspired by that agenda are about a celebratory lifestyle, in a way celebrating the places and spaces which determine the quality of life.”
In an exclusive half-hour interview with Lord Norman Foster, Monocle's editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé discusses matters of urban planning and "big-thinking emerging economies" with "one of the world’s most innovative and revered architects." Foster, who turned eighty years of age this year, has been the recipient of some of the world's most prestigious architecture awards – from the Pritzker Prize, the Stirling Prize, the AIA Gold Medal and the Prince of Asturias Award (Spain). Over the years, Foster's practice have become world-renowned experts in high-density transit design (namely, airports) – a focus of Brûlé's questioning.
If Norman Foster were a household item, he would surely be a Swiss Army Knife. Foster, who turned 80 this year, is unrelenting in producing architectural solutions to problems that other architects can only theorize - just last Wednesday, for example, his firm released their design for a previously-unheard-of building typology, a droneport in Rwanda.
It is surprising then to find the man or his eponymous firm Foster + Partners absent from a list like Fast Company’s “The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Architecture,” organized into superlatives: MMA Architects, “for thinking outside the big box,” Heatherwick Studio, “for reimagining green space,” or C.F. Møller Architects, “for rethinking high-rise living.” This is not to say that Foster or his firm should be substituted for any of these deserved accolades, but rather that for five decades Foster and his firm have ceaselessly worked to enhance and expand on the human experience with architectural solutions that are both inventive and practical - a fact that is perhaps lost as a result of his position within the architectural establishment.
With that in mind, we thought it was worth highlighting the many occasions over the decades where Foster + Partners has shown themselves to be among the world's most innovative practices. Read on for more.
Norman Foster has been awarded the Louis Kahn Memorial Award, an annual award that was established in 1983 to recognize "excellence in architecture" in honor of one of Philadelphia’s most influential architects.
"I am deeply honored to receive this award, particularly as I studied for my master’s degree at Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery in 1961," said Foster. "I have been hugely influenced by his work, which is still as fresh today as it was then. I was privileged to meet Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture and to later teach there.”
From Paris' most abhorred tower to New York's controversial government center, seven renowned architects have stepped up in defense of the world's most hated buildings in a newly published article on T Magazine. As told to Alexandra Lange, the article presents direct quotes from Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster and four others regarding controversial architecture whose importance goes beyond aesthetics.
See what hated building Norman Foster believes to be a "heroic" structure, after the break.
“Quality is an attitude of mind.” - Norman Foster
In honor of Norman Foster's 80th birthday, we bring to you this extensive video interview by Louisiana Channel that gives an in-depth look into the life and career of the prolific English architect. Throughout the 40-minute interview, Foster reflects on his childhood obsession with technology, the evolution of his work, and his constant "strive for simplicity."
Unless architecture is truly your passion, Norman Foster thinks you should simply find something else to pursue. In the Louisiana Channel's latest, the prolific English architect advises the young to live "every living second of your life" doing what you love.
After being granted planning permission last year, Norman Foster's new Maggie’s Cancer Centre in his hometown of Manchester has broken ground. The project is being built at The Christie, one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and the largest single-site centre in Europe. According to Foster + Partners, the new centre will "provide free practical, emotional and social support for anyone living with cancer as well as their family and friends." Surrounded by the Centre’s existing, lush gardens designed by Dan Pearson, Foster’s proposed structure aims to tap into the therapeutic qualities of nature by engaging the outdoors.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the topping out of New York City's Hearst Tower, Lord Foster returned in order to narrate a short film shedding new light on the building with the aid of camera drones. The 46 storey building - which is integrated into a 6 storey base brick structure designed by Joseph Urban in 1928 - was "one of the most sustainable buildings of its time." Now, ten years later, this footage captures spectacular new views of the main atrium.