arkitekt norman foster


Norman Foster is an English architect, born in Manchester in 1935. After graduating from Manchester University School of Architecture and City Planning in 1961 he won a Henry Fellowship to Yale University, where he gained a Master’s Degree in Architecture.

He is the founder and chairman of Foster and Partners. Founded in London in 1967, it is now a worldwide practice, with project offices in more than twenty countries. Over the past decades the company has been responsible for a strikingly wide range of work, from urban master plans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and product design. Foster was made a Knight Bachelor in the 1990 Birthday Honours by Queen Elizabeth II, and thereby granted the title sir.


“I believe,” explains Sir Norman Foster, “that the best architecture comes from a synthesis of all the elements that separately comprise a building: the structure that holds it up; the services that allow it to work; the ecology of the building—whether it is naturally ventilated, whether you can open the windows, the quality of light; the materials used, their mass or their lightness; the character of the spaces; the symbolism of the form; the relationship of the building to the skyline or the streetscape; and the way in which the building signals its presence in the city or the countryside. I think that holds true whether you are creating a landmark or deferring to a historic setting. Successful architecture addresses all these things and many more.”  With that design philosophy and a richly varied body of work throughout the world, it is not surprising that Sir Norman Foster has been named the 1999 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

City Hall, London, UK, 2002
City Hall, London, UK, 2002
30 St Mary Axe, London, UK, 2004
30 St Mary Axe, London, UK, 2004

Sir Norman Foster’s pursuit of the art and science of architecture has resulted in one building triumph after another, each one in its own way, unique. He has re-invented the tall building, producing Europe’s tallest and arguably the first skyscraper with an ecological conscience, the Commerzbank in Frankfurt. He cares passionately for the environment, designing accordingly. His design objectives are guided not only toward the overall beauty and function of a project, but for the wellbeing of those people who will be the end-users.

Commerzbank Headquarters, Frankfurt, Germany, 1997
Commerzbank Headquarters, Frankfurt, Germany, 1997

This social dimension to his work translates as making every effort to transform and improve the quality of life. In the early seventies, he pioneered the notion that the workplace could be a pleasant environment with one of his first notable projects, the Willis Faber and Dumas offices, that included a swimming pool and grassy rooftop park for employees.

Willis Building, Ipswich, UK, 1975
Willis Building, Ipswich, UK, 1975

Sir Norman has produced a collection of buildings and products noted for their clarity, invention, and sheer artistic virtuosity. His work ranges in scale from the modest, but exquisite new addition of the Sackler Galleries to the existing galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and the serenely simple limestone addition to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, Nebraska—to a pair of grand mega-projects, both in Hong Kong, the world’s largest air terminal, and the much-acclaimed Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.

Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts
Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1991
Addition to Joslyn Art Museum
Addition to Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, USA, 1994
Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters
Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters, Hong Kong, China, 1986

Proof of his ability to produce remarkable solutions for diverse programs in urban settings is his sensitive placement and design of the Carré d’Art, a cultural center next to a revered Roman temple, dating from 500 BC, in the heart of Nîmes, France. Such a juxtaposition of contemporary and ancient architecture has rarely been achieved so successfully.

Carré d'Art
Carré d'Art, Nîmes, France, 1993

His transformation of historic icons—the Reichstag in Berlin and the new Great Court of the British Museum—are brilliant redesign-renovations. Architect’s design versatility is further demonstrated with his experimentation and innovation in designing a wide range of products from a simple door handle, to tables and tableware, chairs and other furniture for storage systems, book stacks, desks, exhibition stands, and street furniture as well as a solar powered bus and private motor yacht. His is a continuing process of discovery, inspiration, invention and innovation.

Reichstag, New German Parliament
Reichstag, New German Parliament, Berlin, Germany, 1999
Great Court at the British Museum
Great Court at the British Museum, London, UK, 2000

In the summer of 2009, the Foster + Partners and URS team won an international competition to build the first private spaceport in the world – The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building. The architects explained, “The sinuous shape of the building in the landscape and its interior spaces seek to capture the drama and mystery of space flight itself, articulating the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists.” Making a minimal impact on the environment, the scheme will be the first facility of its kind and a model for the future.

Spaceport America
Spaceport America, New Mexico, USA, 2014

Source: pritzkerprize.com;  fosterandpartners.com

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