Norman Foster

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Baron Foster of Thames Bank at the inauguration of the renovated Dresden Central Station ( 2006 )
Cologne , Friesenplatz , Gerling Ring-Karree
Foster apartment building in St. Moritz, Switzerland
Norman Foster - Bodegas Portia, Burgos, Spain - Entree

Sir Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank , OM , Kt. (Born June 1, 1935 in Manchester ) is a British architect .


Norman Foster was born in Reddish , Stockport , England to a working class family. He was enthusiastic about architecture from an early age and showed talents in this field.

After completing his military service in the Royal Air Force , he first studied at the University of Manchester and, after graduating in 1961, received a scholarship to the Yale School of Art and Architecture . Foster worked for and with the visionary Richard Buckminster Fuller from 1968 to 1983 . In 1965, together with his wife, Wendy , and the couple Sue and Richard Rogers, he founded the architectural office Team 4 , from which in 1967 the office of Foster Associates (now Foster + Partners ) emerged. In 1989, Wendy Foster died of cancer and had four children.

In 1991 he married the Indian architect and designer Sabiha Ruani Malik . In his third marriage, Foster is married to the Spanish doctor and publisher Elena Ochoa .

Originally his designs were characterized by a high-tech style influenced by machines. He later developed a much more accessible style of sharp-edged modernity. Parallel to Richard Rogers, Foster exercised decisive influences on the British architecture scene, as important successors of the local high-tech architecture emerged from his group of employees. In addition to a large number of international projects, his broad presence with built objects in Germany is striking. The reason for this is that he expressly mentions affinities with personalities in German architecture and design history, such as the Berlin architect Ludwig Leo and the German communication designer Otl Aicher , who was most important for intellectual and social post-war development and with whom he was a personal friend. A stylistic influence from this direction can be assumed, especially since Foster obviously used elements of Aicher's graphic and design rules in his plans.

honors and awards

In 1983 he received the Royal Gold Medal . In 1990 Foster was raised to the nobility as a knight by Queen Elizabeth II . In 1992 he became an honorary member of the Association of German Architects BDA . In 1995 he received the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia . In 1997 he was accepted into the Order of Merit (OM). In April 1999 he received the Federal Cross of Merit with a star for his services in converting the Berlin Reichstag into a modern parliament building. He was also awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1999.

Also in 1999 Sir Norman received the dignity of a Life Peer and thus a seat in the House of Lords as Baron Foster of Thames Bank , of Reddish in the County of Greater Manchester ; He gave up this in 2010 because otherwise he would have had to register a residence in the United Kingdom and would have become taxable there; he can still keep his title.

Foster belongs to the German order Pour le mérite for sciences and arts . He is a member of the Academy of Arts (since 1994), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (since 1996) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (since 2005). In 2005 he received the M100 Media Award of the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium in Potsdam , in 2009 the Prince of Asturias Prize in the art category and in 2012 the honorary award of the German Sustainability Prize as a pioneer of sustainable architecture and building art.


Construction projects

During his career, Norman Foster worked on a large number of projects with his partners and employees, for example he built the Carré d'Art cultural center in Nimes from 1985 to 1993 and The Gherkin in London in 2003 . The glass dome of the Reichstag comes from him , and the Millennium Bridge , built in London at the turn of the millennium, was designed by him, as was Apple Park in Cupertino , California, and the HSBC tower block in Hong Kong . Other of his projects can be found at: Foster + Partners .



In 2010, Foster presented a replica of Richard Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car in Madrid .


In 2009 Foster closed his Berlin office with around 70 employees due to the global financial crisis. The office in Istanbul is also to be closed .


  • David Jenkins (Ed.): On Foster - Foster On . Prestel Verlag, Munich 2000. ISBN 3-7913-2405-5
  • David Jenkins (Ed.): Die Reichstag-Graffiti , Jovis Verlag Berlin 2003, ISBN 978-3-931321-05-5
  • Deyan Sudjic: Norman Foster: a life in architecture , London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010, ISBN 978-0-297-85868-3
  • Philip Jodidio: Sir Norman Forster. Taschen, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-8228-8071-X
  • Nicolette Baumeister: Baukultur Guide 73 - Lenbachhaus , Munich. Koch, Schmidt u. Wilhelm 2013.


  • Mirjam von Arx: " Building the Gherkin ", documentary film Switzerland, 2006, 89 min.
  • Mark Kidel: Norman Foster , documentation 53 min., Arthaus Musik GmbH 2009 (BBC 1995), ISBN 978-3-939873-38-9
  • Norberto López Amado, Carlos Carcas: "How much does your Building weigh, Mr. Foster?", Documentary film Spain 2009, 72 min.

Web links

Commons : Norman Foster  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. - ( Memento of the original from January 28, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Merit holders since 1986. (PDF) State Chancellery of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, accessed on March 11, 2017 .
  4. High order for the architect of the rich days
  5. Lord Foster quits House of Lords rather than sacrifice non-dom tax status , July 8, 2010
  6. See Jan Baedeker: Norman Foster resurrects Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion . In: on October 29, 2010, accessed on February 29, 2012.