He uses lines to form organic shapes that let your eye to easily flow around them. Foster also often plays with the duality of in/out. Many of his building have a skeleton of the outside of the building that is visible to the eye rather than hiding it within. He also creates many spaces inside that are enclosed in glass and almost cause you to feel as though you are outside when you’re really surrounded by glass. Foster puts a lot of thought into how his designs will make you feel once you’re interacting with them through the use of different materials and the space of an area which is often something that gets overlooked.
His noteworthy buildings of the 21st century include the courtyard enclosure for the Smithsonian Institution’s Patent Office Building (2004–07) in Washington, D.C., Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport (2003–08), and London’s City Hall (1999–2002). The recipient of numerous awards for his work—including the Pritzker Prize (1999), the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for architecture (2002), and the Aga Khan Award (2007) for his design of the Petronas University of Technology in Malaysia—Foster was knighted in 1990 and granted a life peerage in 1999.
During the past 25 years, Foster has been the architect behind some of the most famous additions to the global skyline, including the Swiss Re headquarters in London that everybody calls the Gherkin and the Hearst Tower in New York City. Though the silhouette of a Foster building can be memorable, his most effective vision is embodied in things you don't always see. Above all, he has been a pioneer among green architects.
He became the 21st Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate in 1999 and was awarded the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture in 2002. He has been awarded the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Architecture (1994), the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture (1983), and the Gold Medal of the French Academy of Architecture (1991). In 1990 he was granted a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in 1999 was honoured with a Life Peerage, becoming Lord Foster of Thames Bank.
A major early influence was the US architect Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on a number of projects in the 1960s, and Foster also founded, with Richard Rogers and their wives, the Team 4 practice before founding Foster Associates (later Foster and Partners) in 1967. Foster went on to explore the technological limits of steel-framed glass, producing notable early designs such as the Willis Faber Dumas Building, Ipswich (1975), and the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia (1978), the latter of which made explicit use of Fuller's "space-frame" concept and won international acclaim as a highly served single pure space.
Foster’s first buildings to receive international acclaim were the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts (1974–78) in Norwich, England, a vast, airy glass-and-metal-paneled shed, and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation headquarters (1979–86) in Hong Kong, a futuristic steel-and-glass office building with a stepped profile.
In his last two years at Manchester, Foster embarked on a parallel town planning course, alongside his architectural studies. With the encouragement of Professor Thornley, Foster began to think about the idea of building architecture at the scale of infrastructure. From the earliest days in his career, he had been as interested in how a city might be designed as he was in the individual building.
Norman foster was born in Manchester, England in 1935. His father was a shop manager in a poor area of Manchester, later a sucurity guard and manual worker in a factory. His parents sent him to a private school and grammar school. There was a strong work ethic and pressure to leave school early and be a wage earner and foster worked for two years in the city treasurer's office, studied commercial law, before leaving for national service in the royal air force. At this time he was developing a growing interest in architecture. when he came out of the air force he worked in a bakery, sold furniture, worked in a factory... after graduating from Manchester University school of architecture and city planning in 1961, which he entered at age 21, he won a fellowship to Yale university where he gained a masters degree in architecture and where he got to know Richard Rogers.
Sir Norman Foster is an award-winning and prolific British architect known for sleek, modern designs made of steel and glass. His first building to receive international acclaim was the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts in Norwich, England. At the turn of the 21st century, he began working on world landmarks, including rebuilding the Reichstag in Berlin after the reunification of Germany.
“I believe 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 buildings to the skyline or streetscape; and the way in which the building signals its presence in the city or the ountryside. I think that holds true to whether you are creating a landmark or deferring to a historic setting. Successful architecture addresses all these things and many more.”
–Sir Norman Foster