Spotlight: Norman Foster


Spaceport America. Image © Nigel Young

Spaceport America. Image © Nigel Young

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.





Foster’s architecture is remarkably diverse; he has designed skyscrapers, 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.


Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. Image © Wikimedia user WiNG licensed under CC BY 3.0

Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. Image © Wikimedia user WiNG licensed under CC BY 3.0

Though High-Tech has now largely faded as a “movement,” instead being assimilated into multiple other strands of mainstream architecture, Foster’s work continues to push the boundaries of architectural technology, earning him commissions such as Apple’s futuristic new Cupertino Campus building and one of the world’s first purpose-built sustainable “smart cities,” Masdar.


Masdar Institute. Image © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Masdar Institute. Image © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Since it was founded in the 1960s, 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, and The Hearst Tower in New York have ensured that Foster has secured his place as one of the greatest architects of the 21st century.


Hearst Tower. Image © Chuck Choi

Hearst Tower. Image © Chuck Choi

See all of Norman Foster’s (completed) works featured on ArchDaily via the thumbnails below, and a selection of further articles below those. A complete list of all our coverage of Foster + Partners’ work, including as-yet unbuilt proposals, can be found at this link.

Architecture’s Most Inspiring Leaders, Projects & People in 2015

AD Interviews: Norman Foster

Lord Foster receives the Prince of Asturias award

Norman Foster Honored with Louis Kahn Memorial Award

7 Buildings That Show Norman Foster’s Architecture Has Always Been Ahead of the Curve

Norman Foster’s Advice for the Young: “Find Something You Believe In”

Norman Foster Explains How Drones in Rwanda Could Lead the Way for New Cities

Video: Norman Foster Recreates Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car

Norman Foster Revisits New York’s Hearst Tower With Drones

Norman Foster’s Interview with The European: “Architecture is the Expression of Values”

VIDEO: Norman Foster on Apple’s Cupertino Campus

TED Talk: Norman Foster on Green Architecture

Norman Foster on Urbanism, Emerging Economies and Airport Design

Foster + Partners Declared Largest Practice In The UK

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