"It's quite evident that you're prepared to abandon traditional ways of sitting," Bernard Keeffe exclaims as he collapses into a bright yellow beanbag in Norman Foster's home. "For years," he continues, "people have thought that if they sat down they would have to sit on a chair, but now you have demonstrated that this is not necessary!" In this lengthy 1971 interview with Lord Foster, drawn from the archives of Thames TV, Keeffe questions the practice's early hi-tech approach to architecture in the context of a landscape in which buildings were becoming "ever more complicated."
In all but the most optimistic architect's career, there will be moments you come across doubts and insecurities about our profession. It is in these moments where the wisdom of the greats who have come before us can help provoke the inspiration needed to face the challenges proposed by architecture and urbanism.
Needing an architectural pick-me-up? Check out some advice from Alejandro Aravena, Álvaro Siza, César Pelli, Francis Kére, Jeanne Gang, Norman Foster and Paulo Mendes da Rocha after the break.
Architecture, as both a profession and the built environment, currently finds itself at a crossroads in trying to adapt to a world in constant flux. Cities and its people face continuous socio-economic, political and environmental change on a daily basis, prompting a necessary rethink in the evolution of sustainable urbanization. With a focus on housing, society and cultural heritage, RIBA’s International Conference, Change in the City, aims to offer insight into the “New Urban Agenda” and how architects can play an interdisciplinary role in future urban development.
Speaking in an interview ahead of the conference, Norman Foster is a strong advocate for a careful consideration of what aspects of urban life need to be prioritized when designing cities of the future. For an increasingly global society, Foster stresses the need for architecture to surpass buildings and tackle its greatest obstacle – global warming, honing in on its roots and factors involved to create viable urban solutions.
New footage from drone videographer Duncan Sinfield reveals that finishing touches are being applied to one of the Apple Campus's more important outward-facing buildings, and perhaps its most 'public' – the "Steve Jobs Theater". Designed and constructed using similar elements to the nearby office 'ring'—including large convex glazed panels and precise, rounded cladding panels—the theater's main function will be to host the company's world-renowned keynote addresses, in which they present new products.
Earlier this month, the Norman Foster Foundation opened its doors in central Madrid. Inhabiting in an old residential palace, and having undergone extensive renovation works since, the Foundation have also constructed their own contemporary courtyard pavilion. Housing a treasure trove of artefacts from Lord Foster's personal collection, the structure—which is shaped like the wing of an aircraft—also exhibits a newly restored 1927 Avions Voisin C7 originally owned by Le Corbusier.
The "Spaceship" has landed and the dust, it appears, is starting to settle. In an article by Adam Rogers, which follows Wired's exclusive breakdown of the new Apple Campus in Cupertino, California, a convincing case is put forward against its design and wider masterplan. "You can’t understand a building without looking at what’s around it," Rogers argues – and most, including its architects, Foster+Partners, would surely be inclined to agree.
Whether you call it the Ring (too JRR Tolkien), the Death Star (too George Lucas), or the Spaceship (too Buckminster Fuller), something has alighted in Cupertino. And no one could possibly question the elegance of its design and architecture. This building is $5 billion and 2.8 million square feet of Steve Jobsian-Jony Ivesian-Norman Fosterian genius.
Heatherwick Studio and Foster+Partners' Bund Finance Centre in Shanghai Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu
Located in central Shanghai, this multifunctional arts and culture complex is part of the Bund Finance Centre – a joint project between London-based practices Heatherwick Studio and Foster+Partners. Sitting between the old town and the new financial district, this new space combines exhibition and events spaces with a performance venue inspired, according to the architects, "by the open stages of traditional Chinese theatres." Of most visual interest is the building's mechanical "moving veil," captured here by photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu.
Norman Foster Foundation Includes Aravena, Ive and Other Leading Names in Their 2017 "Future is Now" Conference
Last month the Norman Foster Foundation, created to promote "interdisciplinary thinking and research to help up-and-coming architects, designers and urbanists to anticipate the future," coincided the opening of its new Madrid-based headquarters with an international conference. Future is Now pulled together a broad collection of professionals—including Sir Jonathan Ive, Marc Newson, Olafur Eliasson, Maya Lin, Alejandro Aravena, and Luis Fernández-Galian—who addressed an audience of 1,800 (including 1,100 students) in the Spanish capital's Royal Theater.
Watch the conference in its entirety, or read a summary, after the break.
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.
“It’s a pretty amazing building. It’s a little like a spaceship landed” - Steve Jobs
WIRED has published an in-depth article exclusively detailing Apple’s new headquarters that has now opened in Cupertino, California. Coined as the “One Last Thing” Steve Jobs had envisioned prior to his death in 2011, journalist Steven Levy takes the reader through a step-by-step tour of the new Apple Park campus guided by design spearhead Jonathan Ive and head of facilities Dan Whisenunt. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners, the sprawling 75 acres hosts facilities ranging from a 100,000 square foot Wellness Center, a hilltop theater, a 755-foot entrance tunnel (tiled Apple white of course) and immense 4-storey glass doors that open up the Ring’s equally giant café to the elements.
What did Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry get when he designed the Stata Center, an exuberantly whimsical academic complex for MIT? A very large check, plus a major lawsuit, alleging negligence and breach of contract due to rampant leaks, mold, cracks, drainage problems and sliding ice. Sometimes the most inspired designs can go awry. And when they do, some clients lawyer up. Here are 9 fascinating examples.
The Norman Foster Foundation has announced plans for its new Madrid-based headquarters to be opened in June this year, whose inauguration will be marked by the first session of the global forum Future is Now, addressing future social, economic and design concerns architecture will face. With the intersection of art, technology, and design, the Foundation facilitates multifaceted thinking and discourse among architects and designers. The opening of its new headquarters is a vital step in “establishing a world-class archive and inaugurating an international program of research, education, and interdisciplinary projects.”
According to the Foundation, “the decision to establish the Foundation as an independent entity, separate from the architectural practice of Foster + Partners, grew out of the perceived need for a permanent physical space that could house the Archive and study center, receive students and graduates, and present programs and projects."
According to Spanish media outlet El País, Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura have won an international ideas competition to design the new addition of the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The team beat 47 other participants, including firms such as Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos, OMA, and Souto Moura Arquitectos, and will be in charge of the renovation and transformation of the Salón de Reinos.
El País reports that the project will cost €30 million and will "provide a large atrium to access the building’s south façade." This "will lead to an exhibition space on the first story," while also making the park and surrounding site more pedestrian friendly.
There are at least as many definitions of architecture as there are architects or people who comment on the practice of it. While some embrace it as art, others defend architecture’s seminal social responsibility as its most definitive attribute. To begin a sentence with “Architecture is” is a bold step into treacherous territory. And yet, many of us have uttered — or at least thought— “Architecture is…” while we’ve toiled away on an important project, or reflected on why we’ve chosen this professional path.
Most days, architecture is a tough practice; on others, it is wonderfully satisfying. Perhaps, though, most importantly, architecture is accommodating and inherently open to possibility.
This collection of statements illustrates the changing breadth of architecture’s significance; we may define it differently when talking among peers, or adjust our statements for outsiders.
US tech-giant Apple Inc. have revealed that they will consolidate their UK operations to "a new Apple campus" in London's Battersea, at the heart of a site formerly occupied by the derelict Grade II* Listed Battersea Power Station. The 42-acre complex, which is currently undergoing major redevelopment (and is soon to have a public square designed by BIG connecting to the Electric Boulevard development designed by Norman Foster and Frank Gehry), will provide a mix of commercial space and residential zones. According to the London Evening Standard, Apple will be relocating around 1,400 staff from eight sites around the British capital to the former power station, occupying all six floors of the restored building's extensive new office space. They will be the site's single largest single tenant.
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.