Architect Foster Norman: biography, projects

Architect Foster Norman: biography, projects
Architect Foster Norman: biography, projects

In modern world urban planning, the architect Foster Norman is highly rated as a classic of high-tech style. His architecture firm, Foster and partners, is trusted with the most visionary city-forming projects in countries on every continent.

foster norman

This British citizen is the winner of the most prestigious awards in the world: the Pritzker Prize (analogue of the Nobel Prize for architecture) and the Imperial Prize (the highest in Britain). Germany has awarded him its highest cultural order of merit for a project to modernize its parliament. He, who created a number of projects for Moscow City, is also an honorary member of the Academy of Arts of the Russian Federation.

Foster Norman came to success solely because of his talent and determination.

Start in employment

The high-tech classic was born in 1935 in Manchester (Great Britain). The father of the future architect was a worker at an enterprise manufacturing steam turbines and generators. Due to the financial difficulties of the family, the 16-year-old boy was forced to leave school and get a job in the treasury of his native city. Norman's father dreamed of a civil servant career for his son. In addition to the main work, youngFoster also studied commercial law. However, office work did not appeal to the young guy at all.

Already then, inspired by the architecture of Manchester, Foster Norman began to draw sketches of buildings invented by himself. One of his fellow clerks, seeing these drawings one day, recommended that he take up architecture professionally.

However, the realization of the dream was preceded first by a year of military service in the British Air Force, and then - two years of various unskilled jobs: in a bakery, in a factory, in a furniture store. After passing the interview, Foster Norman got a job in the contracting department of an architectural agency as an assistant manager. While doing commercial work, he realized that in order to become an architect, education is a must.


The 21-year-old guy was given the opportunity to enter the relevant faculty of the University of Manchester. However, the points scored were not enough to receive a grant that gives the right to study at public expense.

architect foster norman

So Foster Norman earned money to pay for his studies, working several hours a day as a baker, a salesman and even a security guard at a nightclub. But the education received in Britain does not fully satisfy the professional ambitions of the young architect. He is attracted by the architecture of overseas skyscraper monsters. Foster Norman is studying at the American Yale University. After graduating, the young specialist, together with his friend and classmate Richard Rogers, returned to Britain, where they registeredarchitectural workshop "Team 4".

The birth of high-tech

Their early designs, designing residential buildings that grace the rolling hills of Cornwall and the prestigious Mews House apartments in London, have a touch of classical sophistication.

In a creative search, striving to spatially develop American architectural ideas of building, this young team created a new style of architecture - high-tech. And of course, the architect Norman Foster formulated his part of the conceptual ideas of the new direction. His projects of that period concern mainly industrial buildings. The turning point in his building design work was a 1966 design for a Reliance Controls computer factory.

The elegant harmony of the solution, the restraint and elegance of the construction of this building made the British talk about a new star in the field of architecture. In it, the author creatively used the aesthetics of profiled metal, which served not only as rigid diaphragms, but also as original light reflectors, shining thanks to the fluorescent tubes inserted into them. This building was the last project of the "Team of Four", which was created in collaboration with Richard Rogers by architect Norman Foster.

The photo of this creation convincingly testifies to the creativity of its designers, boldly using hitherto unheard of materials and structures in construction, inventing original interpretations of the space of internal volumes, creating at the same time unique and ultra-modernbuilding facades. This was not the work of artisans. The creation created by the architects spoke for itself: a new style was born in world architecture - high-tech.

My company, my ideas

Obvious to all was the revolution in the principles of building construction, which was initiated by Norman Foster. High-tech projects involve the replacement of traditional post-and-beam structural systems with expressive large-span “floating” sectional structures. They are distinguished by amazing mirror glazing of the facades and, of course, new principles in the wiring of communications. Externally, this architecture creates the illusion of surrealism.

In 1967, the architect founded his private firm Foster and Partners, in which until 1983 (until his partner's death) he worked in collaboration with the famous architect Buckminster Fuller. Foster's new partner became famous in architecture for the creation of his know-how: large-span light domes that cover large urban spaces and create opportunities for the localization of separate multi-purpose spaces with an autonomously maintained microclimate.

High-tech, made more expressive thanks to the completeness emphasized by the graceful dome, found its expression in the London docks and passenger station "Fred Olsen Center" (1967), in the building of the company "Willy Faber and Dumas" (Ipswich, 1974)

The next milestone building that brought the architect worldwide fame was the Sainsbury Center, built in East Britain in 1977 at the university. Foster's vision is to unite under one roofpremises completely different in their functionality: a museum, a restaurant, the university itself, a winter garden was a success.

Perhaps the concept of an architectural company has changed since this timeline. By order of we althy private investors, Norman Foster begins to develop projects. We will present the top 10 of them in this article. The buildings, in the creation of which he put his talent and soul, are now an integral part of the urban landscape of many cities. So let's start our virtual tour.

London: cucumber building

Atypical architecture, which Londoners themselves humorously call “erotic cucumber” or “sexy cigar”. However, much more often the forty-story building of the headquarters of the Swiss insurance company Swiss Re, by the way, one of the largest in the world, is called “gherkin” (The Gherkin).

architect norman foster his designs

She did not violate the architectural appearance of the British capital at all, as it was feared, fitting perfectly into it. Thousands of office workers work here. Restaurants and bars are located on the top floor of the British creation.

New York: Horst Tower

The Hearst Corporation's media empire in what the locals call the "big apple" also received a gift from Foster. The architect's project involved the creative completion of a local long-term construction.

norman foster projects top 10 photos

Due to the great depression that began in the 30s, the Americans froze and then stopped the construction of a classic beam skyscraper,limited to the laid foundation and lower floors.

Above them, Norman Voster erected a triangular ergonomic tower with gleaming glass panels and giant armored glass windows, which now houses employees of the well-known publishing houses Cosmopoltan” and Esquire. The architect's know-how lies in the environmental friendliness of the building: the natural air currents blowing over it are used for ventilation, and the rainwater that has fallen on the roof is used for the air conditioning system and for watering plants.

France: Villot Viaduct Bridge

This building, exceeding the height of the famous Eiffel Tower, has replenished its Norman Foster projects (top 10). The photo of this bridge over the River Tarn, stretching from southern France to Spain, reflects the uniqueness of the creative idea.

norman foster projects top 10

The bridge between states impresses with seven tall pillars, kilometers of roadbed, shrouds with triple anti-corrosion coating. He not only unloaded the A-75 highway, which was suffering from constant traffic jams, but also attracted many tourists, becoming a famous architectural landmark of France.

London: Wembley Stadium

Today's largest stadium in the world, which Norman Foster had a hand in creating its modern look, welcomed its first spectators in 2007. The legendary arena of the home country of football in its modern form accepts up to 90 thousand spectators! The architect elegantly forewarned the possibility of a crush (usually occurring at the entrance and exit tothe territory of the stadiums.) People get to the stands with the help of escalators with a total length of 400 meters. The main feature of the project is an openwork arch 130 meters long, supporting the retractable roof of the sports facility. The luminous arch is visible from all over London at night.

This roof design is important for lawn care. Thanks to natural sunlight, proper maintenance of the stadium lawn is achieved.

Germany. Berlin. Reichstag

Without exaggeration, all the guests of Berlin strive to get into this building. The former Reichstag, which is now called the Bundestag, in addition to a historical landmark, has turned into a high-tech miracle. Norman Foster, who won the competition for its reconstruction in the 1990s, not only provided the federal assembly building (Bundestag) with a glass dome providing a 360-degree view of the city - the heart of Germany, but also made a fundamental re-planning of its internal volume.

norman foster projects in russia

Under the remaining unchanged outer shell of the building, the architect created a unique high-tech interior environment. This is achieved with modern panels and steel structures. Light-coloured natural stone and decorative concrete give the modern premises of the Bundestag both majestic and ergonomic appearance.

Kazakhstan. Astana. “Khan-Shatyr”

Which architect do you think erected the largest tent in the world? The question is rhetorical. The building covers just a giant area of ​​10 football fields. Its unique roof is intentionallydesigned in the form of a specific inclined cone. Its uniqueness lies in its asymmetry (the idea of ​​Art Nouveau borrowed by the architect). Thousands of cables rigidly fastening it, during the construction of the tower, were simultaneously fastened by 650 industrial climbers. The construction of the building itself was like a show!

norman foster high tech projects

Inside this worthy high-tech building is the largest shopping and entertainment center in Kazakhstan with dozens of restaurants, shops and supermarkets, clubs, cinemas.

However, the hallmark of Khan-Shatyr is an indoor swimming pool with a beach, unique for the steppe country (the sand cover of which uses the famous white volcanic sand from the Maldives.)

Britain. London. Stansted Airport

In designing this building, built 50 kilometers from London, Lord Foster was once again original. He initially rejected all the classical canons of the construction of such structures.

norman foster projects plans

His main principle of creativity - complex simplicity - again manifested itself in full. The terminal's unique mirrored roof, supported by a skeleton of tube sections with inverted pyramidal contours, protects those waiting from natural precipitation. Adjacent to this canopy is a modern airport building resembling a huge high-tech glass cube.

Britain. Boston. Museum of Fine Arts

The growing stock of this largest museum in Britain has created a problem.There were not enough available premises for their accommodation. Baron Foster was called in to help. In this case, without making changes to the existing fixed assets of the museum, he erected a modern, spacious four-story building, into which the entire exposition of American art moved. The problem of premises for the museum was resolved for many years.

Germany. Frankfurt. Commerzbank Tower

For Frankfurt, this building has an architectural significance similar to the Tower of London or the Eiffel Tower for Paris. Simply put, this is the visiting card of the city. The triangular unique skyscraper realized the concept of a European ecological building. Inside it, at the level of four floors, unique gardens are planted in a spiral: Mediterranean, North American, Asian. The occupants of the building are in a unique high-tech natural environment.

Live the future

Certainly, one of the most interesting architects of our time is Norman Foster. The projects and plans of the British maestro of architecture are ahead of their time. He is an innovator and revolutionary in shaping the architectural appearance of megacities around the globe. The architectural company Foster & Partners constantly builds iconic and unique buildings in Europe, the New World, and Asia. It is characteristic that after their erection they set the bar for the height of the level of architecture, become points for the development of modern construction of cities and regions.

foster norman

He's brilliant. Its buildings are appropriate in a variety of contexts: be it the modernization of a governmentbuilding or renovation of an industrial building, construction of a conceptual shopping and entertainment complex or a target object of urban infrastructure: a bridge or an airport.

To date, he has completed projects in 22 countries. As the general manager of his successful company, Norman Foster plans his work for many years to come.

Projects in Russia - not his most profitable venture, but it is indicative. The fact is that, having first decided to cooperate with the master, the Moscow government went further by postponing the actual implementation of projects. We are talking about the project of the skyscraper "Russia" with a height of 612 meters on the territory of the Moscow International Business Center "Moscow-City". This 118-storey building, once erected, would be the tallest in Europe. The volume of construction, which was planned on an area of ​​520.8 thousand square meters, is impressive. The construction started in 2007. However, already in the next project, the main investor was excluded from the project - the company of Shalva Chigirinsky, who was experiencing financial difficulties. Then Foster & Associates received a proposal to reduce the height of the building by a factor of three. The motivation was the limited funds of the Moscow government in a crisis. Then in March 2012, the planned height of the tower was set at 360 meters. And, finally, the project was completely abandoned. Today, a fundamentally different structure is being built on the construction site.


Now he is considered the number 1 architect in the world. His company employs 500 full-time professionals, and another 100 heis hired on an annual basis. The secret of the architectural maestro's success lies in his personal creativity, as well as in the powerful core of his team, which includes people from around the world: David Nelson and Spencer de Grey.

A native of a working-class family was lucky enough to fully realize his enormous creative potential. He managed to convince Britain of the fidelity of his architectural ideas, and then the rest of the world. Architect Foster Norman actively brings to life cities and countries the architectural style he created himself. Despite his venerable age (the baron-architect is 80 years old), he does not go into the shadows, continuing to outperform all modern high-tech architects in the rating.

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