Posts tagged with "Norman Foster":

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Human blood sculpture coming to New York City in a Norman Foster cage

A new installation coming next year to New York City could be the strangest piece of visual art the creative capital has seen. British contemporary artist Marc Quinn has envisioned a sculpture made of human blood, intended as a commentary on the ongoing global refugee crisis. It’s set to debut on the steps of the iconic Fifth Avenue branch of the New York Public Library in fall 2019 in a Norman Foster–designed structure, and it will then embark on a traveling tour. Odyssey, as the work is aptly named, will feature two transparent cubes filled with one metric ton each of frozen human blood. The artwork will be the centerpiece of a nonprofit project aimed to help raise awareness and raise $30 million for refugee-support organizations around the world. Fifty percent of the project’s proceeds will directly benefit the International Rescue Committee, while the other half will go to charities and programs selected by Quinn’s foundation, Human Love. “The global refugee crisis is one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies we have seen,” said Quinn in a statement. “The idea for Odyssey began with the simple truth that my blood and your blood is the same; under the skin we’re all the same.” To demonstrate the concept that our blood unites us as humans, Quinn will draw donated blood from over 5,000 refugees and non-refugees alike to go inside the identical cubes. One cube will hold the blood of resettled refugee volunteers while the other cube will hold the blood of celebrities such as Jude Law, Bono, Kate Moss, Paul McCartney, and others. The cubes won’t be marked, so it’ll be up to viewers to reflect on the similarities between the two. Quinn is slated to begin gathering the blood this January by stationing small laboratories in cities across the world, all set up to match medical and ethical standards, according to The Guardian. Every person who donates blood will be able to contribute a short video message about their reasons for joining the effort. Refugees will have the opportunity to share their past traumas and bring attention to those still in crisis. Odyssey will go on tour around the world after its initial stint at the New York Public Library. The accompanying footage will be displayed across public screens and billboards throughout the host cities. In addition, the artwork will be displayed inside a steel-framed pavilion designed by Sir Norman Foster and backed by the Norman Foster Foundation. Foster noted the difficult yet poignant task of creating a traveling structure for this invaluable piece of art: “Art can raise issues of equality and inequality. That has to be one of the functions of art,” he said. “In Odyssey we had a challenge: to create an environment that will work with the two frozen cubes of blood and be able to adapt to radically different locations and climates. This challenge is primarily architectural but is also an environmental one. “In a way, perhaps that diversity of situations also highlights the diversity of the refugee crisis; it is not confined to one continent, nor to one kind of people. It’s universal—much like our humanity. We are all the same, under the skin.” Anyone can donate blood or money to the project. Visit bloodcube.org for more.
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Norman Foster and other leaders suspend participation in Saudi Arabian megacity

As the link between the alleged killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman grows stronger, leaders in many sectors, including in media and design, are distancing themselves from projects and conferences sponsored by the regime. This includes architects and design leaders on the advisory board of NEOM, a $500 billion megacity project announced last year at an international investment conference held in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital city. NEOM is envisioned as a "smart city" rising on 10,000 square miles of desert with a separate governance structure and ambitious energy, tech, and sustainability goals, part of a larger "Saudi Vision 2030" plan intended to help move the country away from its dependence on oil revenue. The development's website advertises the city as one that "heralds the future of human civilization by offering its inhabitants an idyllic lifestyle set against a backdrop of a community founded on modern architecture, lush green spaces, quality of life…" and so on. The project posits modern architecture as a key part of what it means to live in the future. On October 9, an official announcement named notable leaders in the field who would participate on NEOM's advisory board. They included Sir Norman Foster, Carlo Ratti of MIT's Senseable Cities Lab, IDEO president and CEO Tim Brown, Sidewalk Labs chairman and CEO Dan Doctoroff, and Travis Kalanick, former CEO of Uber. The initial list also included Jonathan Ive, Apple's chief design officer, but his name was quietly removed from the initial list of 19 names soon after it was released. The announcement came a week after the October 2nd disappearance of Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, with numerous news outlets reporting that he had most likely been killed there by Saudi agents, which the Saudi government denies. Since the initial announcement about the board, Doctoroff stated that his inclusion had been a mistake, and Brown also withdrew himself soon after. It appeared that Foster and Ratti were the few holdouts from the architecture world still left on the board. But today, Foster's office told AN: "Earlier this week Lord Foster wrote to the head of the NEOM Advisory Board stating that whilst the situation remains unclear he has suspended his activities in respect of the Board." Ratti's office offered this comment, "Both Carlo and our team are gravely concerned about the Khashoggi case. We are monitoring the situation closely as it develops hour by hour. We are waiting for the results of the U.S. investigation to evaluate the best course of action." With state department officials, major corporations, and media partners withdrawing from the conference where NEOM was announced last year and mounting global pressure to investigate what really happened to Khashoggi, it remains to be seen what impact this will have on any of the numerous deals and projects that have already been set into motion in Saudi Arabia. This not only includes massive undertakings like NEOM, but a range of built projects scheduled for completion later this year and the near future, including projects by SOM, Henning Larsen, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects.  
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London dispatch: Bloomberg HQ should not have won this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize

This week, Foster + Partners’ Bloomberg European headquarters in London picked up the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize, an award ostensibly given to the best building in the U.K., marking the third time Norman Foster's firm has won the award. But was it actually the best piece of architecture on the shortlist of six projects? No. Let me start off by saying that the Bloomberg headquarters is by no means a bad building. The judging panel, chaired by Sir David Adjaye, was right to say the project “pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture." They added in a statement: “Bloomberg has opened up new spaces to sit and breathe in the City,” and went on to laud “the visceral impact of the roof-top view across to St Paul’s from the concourse space,” the office’s helix ramp and its “dynamic new workspaces.” However, all of these listed items of praise are merely examples of pricey green gadgetry and fancy add-ons. While good in their own right, they have not come together well enough to form an exemplary piece of architecture worthy of winning the RIBA Stirling Prize. Inside, amid the myriad of seating, the scheme feels like a glitzy airport at times with stock markets being displayed on screens emulating departure boards. Views out are also hard to come by, besides one panorama of St Paul’s and a vista of the city reserved for Bloomberg's higher-ups as they dine.  The Bloomberg HQ may have also carved a new thoroughfare through this part of London, but it’s hardly space to breathe. The public feels somewhat ushered through the massive slabs of sandstone by undulating bronze fins that dominate the facade, being employed further up to aid air circulation and shun views out in the process. The only spaces where you don’t have to be a paying patron at an establishment to sit are two benches at the site’s southern corner, both of which have seating dividers to prevent rough sleepers. Poor people it seems shouldn’t be allowed to rest when in the presence of a $1.7 billion building. And that’s the project’s biggest issue: money. “Some people say the reason it took almost a decade to build this is because we had a billionaire who wanted to be an architect working with an architect who wanted to be a billionaire,” said former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at his building’s unveiling. Norman Foster is the U.K.’s wealthiest architect. This year, partners at his firm shared $30.4 million between them, a 43 percent increase on last year despite a downturn in profits and turnover with the company having to lose staff in the process. As critic Oliver Wainwright noted in a tweet, Foster's 'non-resident in the UK for tax purposes' status prevented him from even picking up the award in person. What does all this say about architects and the profession? That to design a good building you must find a client with apparently limitless pockets? That as an architect it is more important to be obscenely wealthy over everything else? Bloomberg’s London HQ is a far cry from last year’s winner, dRMM’s Hastings Pier, which exemplified civic architecture at its best. That delightful scheme made extensive use of timber salvaged from a fire that burned down the previous pier. It was truly a community project. dRMM held close consultations with the public and the charity funding it, and the pier was built for the public of Hastings (and those visiting, of course).   There were far better examples of architecture on this year’s Stirling Prize shortlist too. Take Waugh Thistleton Architects’ Bushey Cemetery for example. Using walls of rammed earth sourced from the site it rests on, the project demonstrates genuine material innovation and manages to convey a sense of weight and be delicate at the same time. Bloomberg, meanwhile, shipped in 600 tons of bronze from Japan and granite from India, and despite the similar earthy tones, feels dauntingly heavy. An example of working wonders when on a budget was also shortlisted: Storey's Field Centre and Eddington Nursery in Cambridge by MUMA. Like Hastings Pier, this was a celebration of civic architecture, with a community center and kindergarten surrounding a landscaped courtyard. “By building at a lower height than approved at planning…Bloomberg shows a high level of generosity towards the City,” the judges commented. In light of this, Jamie Fobert Architects’ Tate St Ives was arguably more adept at concealing space. Buried underground, yet still allowing bucket loads of light in, the museum has somehow doubled in size. It’s a remarkable piece of architectural contortion that keeps locals and the museum happy. Another shortlisted project, Níall McLaughlin Architects’ Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre for the University of Oxford, like the two aforementioned projects, articulated light in spectacular fashion. The project provided a lecture theater, a student learning space, seminar rooms, and a dance studio of immense quality and leads by example the quality of spaces students deserve. London studio Henley Halebrown’s Chadwick Hall student accommodation for the University of Roehampton, the final project on the list, did the same. A win for the project could have sent a message about what the standard of student housing in the U.K. should be. The majority of current student housing stock is dire. With space standards for student housing thrown out of the window due to it being temporary accommodation, the area has become a safe bet for investors looking to cram as many units in for a guaranteed profit. A message, in fact, was sent, coming in explicit form from RIBA President Ben Derbyshire. “This building is a profound expression of confidence in British architecture—and perfectly illustrates why the U.K. is the profession’s global capital,” he said in a statement. “This role and reputation must be maintained, despite the political uncertainty of Brexit.” This, however, feels like a lazy excuse to award a project the Stirling Prize. Defaulting to listing “Brexit” as a reason should not be in the criteria. Neither should sustainability, a high standard of which should be a baseline for all shortlisted projects. Let BREEAM (the U.K. equivalent of LEED) deal with recognizing that. The RIBA Stirling Prize doesn’t have to send any message, though. It just has to recognize the best building, and this it has not done.
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Foster + Partners will master plan the core of a new Indian state capital

  Amaravati, the new state capital of Andhra Pradesh, India (formed in a recent redrawing of state boundaries), is set to rise as a sustainable smart city, and Foster + Partners will master plan the green “spine” running through its administrative core. The 134-square-mile city is being positioned as one of the “most sustainable in the world” according to Foster + Partners, thanks to widespread solar power, electric vehicles, dedicated cycling routes, and shaded paths to encourage walking. The city was strategically positioned on the banks of the River Krishna for easy access to fresh water, and water taxis have been floated as mass transit options. The 3.4-mile by half-mile stretch that Foster + Partners will be planning holds the city’s central governmental complex, including the design of several administrative buildings, and most importantly, the legislative assembly and the high court complex. The green spine will be at least 60 percent occupied with either greenery or water, and Foster + Partners claims that the area, centered in a city with a strong urban grid, was inspired by Central Park and Lutyens' Delhi (an area of New Delhi designed by British architect Edwin Lutyens). The legislative assembly building will sit inside of a large freshwater lake at the spine’s center and appears to be floating over the water’s surface. Keeping the Hindu principles of vastu shastra in mind, the building dramatically spikes 820 feet towards the sky at its core and creates an internal void. The space below inside of the assembly building will be used as a courtyard, while visitors can climb a spiral ramp to a cultural museum and viewing gallery on the upper levels. The high court complex is located off of the spine’s central axis, and the building’s stepped, dome-shaped roof references Indian stupas; domed buildings typically containing Buddhist relics. Generous overhangs encourage natural, passive cooling throughout, and the programming is made up of concentric circles of circulation spaces and rooms. The public-facing sections will be at the exterior rings, while the most sensitive and private areas will be located at the heart of the court complex. A mixed-use neighborhood has been planned for the area closest to the river’s edge, structured around 13 public plazas, each representing a state district in Andhra Pradesh. Sir Norman Foster was recently in Amaravati to survey the site and discuss the project’s next steps. “We are delighted to be working with the Chief Minister and the Government of Andhra Pradesh to help them realise their ideas for the People’s Capital and to build a clear and inspiring vision for the governmental complex at Amaravati,” said Foster in a press release. “The design brings together our decades-long research into sustainable cities, incorporating the latest technologies that are currently being developed in India.”
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Here are the six first-time national pavilions at the 2018 Venice Biennale

The 16th Venice Architecture Biennale curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara will feature national pavilions from several first-time exhibitors. Responding to the Biennale’s Freespace theme in manifold ways, the new participants deal with everything from humanity’s relationship to the environment to faith and religion. Saudi Arabia Commissioned by the Misk Art Institute, Saudi Arabia’s first Biennale pavilion, called Spaces in Between, will explore both the fragmentation and connection brought on by uneven urbanization and suburbanization. Turki and Abdulrahman Gazzaz, the brother founders of architectural design consultancy Brick Lab, will be realizing the project, which includes an installation of resin cylinders (the petroleum origin of which references the nation’s oil reserves that have fueled rapid urban development), sand from different regions of Saudi Arabia, and infographics. Venue: Arsenale Holy See The Vatican commissioned curator and historian Francesco Dal Co to select ten architects to contribute to Vatican Chapels, a collection of small chapels by architects from across the globe on Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore. The Holy See hopes that the chapels will not feel tied to the traditional church form, only requiring that they each have a pulpit and an altar, and have the ability to be reconstructed elsewhere. Visitors will enter Vatican Chapels through the Asplund Pavilion, which will present an exhibition of drawings by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund that is informed by his 1920 Woodland Chapel. Designed by Venice-based MAP Studio, the Asplund Pavilion will serve as both an anchor and as a point of departure for the rest of Vatican Chapels. The participating architects are Andrew Berman (United States), Carla Juaçaba (Brazil), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal), Eva Prats & Ricardo Flores (Spain), Francesco Cellini (Italy), Javier Corvalán (Paraguay), Norman Foster (United Kingdom), Sean Godsell (Australia), Smiljan Radic (Chile), and Terunobu Fujimori (Japan). Venue: Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore Pakistan Curated by Karachi-based architect and scholar Sami Chohan, The Fold will be Pakistan’s first presentation at the Biennale. Exploring the dense, informal settlements of Pakistan’s most populous (and the world’s third largest) city, Karachi, The Fold considers open space in the face of constant contraction. As a city that has grown 20-fold in the past 70 years, Karachi’s constricted public space often cannot take the form of parks and other traditional open spaces. Instead, public space grows from the social interactions that limn the corridors of these narrow settlements—constructing a dense form of urban “openness.” Venue: Giardini della Marinaressa – Giardino di Levante Antigua and Barbuda Curated by landscape architect Barbara Paca, Antigua and Barbuda’s exhibition at Venice will be known as Environmental Justice as a Civil Right. The exhibition centers on three sites in Antigua and Barbuda, using them to interrogate the relationship between architecture and the environment by way of models, drawings, and other objects. Venue: Don Orione Artigianelli, Dorsoduro 919 Guatemala Stigma, curated by Stefania Pieralice, Carlo Marraffa, and Elsie Wunderlich, explores notions of virtual and utopian architecture. Responding to the crises of language, narrative, and meaning in postmodernity, the projects from Regina Dávila, Marco Manzo, Adriana Padilla Meyer, Studio Domus, UR Project, and Elsie Wunderlich imagine a “virtual city.” The pavilion will exhibit an array of models, monuments, and "large planispheres." Venue: Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, Cannaregio 4118 Lebanon Lebanon’s first pavilion at the Biennale will gather numerous individuals, architects, artists, researchers, and institutions to reflect on unbuilt land and its use and disuse. Primarily focusing on the Beirut River and its watershed, the centerpiece of The Place that Remains, as the pavilion will be known, will be a comprehensive 3-D territorial model. The pavilion is curated by architect and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Lebanese American University Hala Younes. Venue: Arsenale [googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d11121.408953772161!2d12.342916809924194!3d45.43572791299231!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x0%3A0x326075048d72cf38!2sDon+Orione+Artigianelli!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1526049177751&w=600&h=450]
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Foster + Partners reveals their Vatican Chapel for the Venice Architecture Biennale

Following the reveal of the Asplund Pavilion, a precursor to the ten chapels that the Vatican will be presenting at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, Foster + Partners has released renderings for the United Kingdom’s contribution. First announced in January, the Holy See’s pavilion, Vatican Chapels, will be built on San Giorgio Maggiore, a forested island across from St. Mark’s Square, and consist of ten temporary chapels meant to embrace the reverence of nature. The designs released by Foster + Partners show a serpentine timber pavilion that curves through the Venetian woods, with three distinct sections supported by cross-shaped structural elements. A series of perforated vertical slats will drape the exterior of the chapel, letting visitors glimpse the surrounding woodland while also dappling the interior with light and shadow. In a statement sent to AN, the final idea for the chapel arose from the concept of three symbolic crosses draped with a “tent-like membrane”; ultimately the crosses became anchoring masts and the membrane transformed into the lattice shown in the renderings. The chapel will be supported largely in part through tensioning between the different components. “Our project started with the selection of the site,” said Norman Foster in a statement. “On a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore, close to Palladio’s magnificent church and the Teatro Verde, we found a green space with two mature trees beautifully framing the view of the lagoon. It was like a small oasis in the big garden, perfect for contemplation. Our aim is to create a small sanctuary space diffused with dappled shade and removed from the normality of passers-by, focused instead on the water and sky beyond.” The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale is the first time that the Vatican will be represented at the festival. In describing their design approach, the Church emphasized that the chapels–each built by a team from a different country–are meant to express Catholicism through that country’s unique history with the religion. After the conclusion of the Biennale, the chapels will be sent all over the world to serve in areas lacking dedicated houses of worship. Foster + Partners’ chapel is being constructed in partnership with Italian furniture manufacturer Tecno. The pavilion’s opening ceremony will be held on May 25, and will remain on display through November 18, 2018.
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Norman Foster’s Chicago Apple Store can’t handle this brutal winter

Norman Foster’s recently completed flagship Apple Store in Chicago, whose ultra-light roof meant designers could include plenty of unobstructed views, now seems unable to cope with the stress of a Chicago winter. Residents are reporting that the downward-sloping roof has turned the sidewalks around the store into a hazard zone, as ice and snow has been sliding off and potentially endangering pedestrians. According to 9to5mac and local blogger Matt Maldre, Apple has decided to address this problem by roping off all of the walkways around the store except for the entrance. Because the store is sited on the bank of the Chicago River and meant to act as a "Town Square," Apple’s closure also means that the riverfront will be blocked off as well. The curved, 32-foot-tall glass facade that seamlessly wraps the store hasn’t gotten out of the cold weather unscathed, either. As one Skyscraperpage forum user noticed, the outer layer of the laminated glass paneling seems to have cracked because of the weather. Since each panel is produced in layers, the entire piece will need to be replaced, and definitely not for cheap. While record-setting cold temperatures are chilling most of the country right now, Chicago winters are known to be particularly harsh. Despite the acclaimed "MacBook-shape" of the roof, it’s unknown how designers and engineers involved with the project didn’t see how it would be a problem.
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Robert A.M. Stern and Norman Foster talk Yale and martinis at the Glass House

"The Brits thought we Americans didn’t know about culture and we thought the Brits didn’t know how to draw," is how Robert A.M. Stern describes his impression of the first (pre-Beatles) British invasion. In 1962, Norman Foster, along with Richard Rogers and their respective partners, moved to New Haven for a year to study at Yale. Stern spoke about these years last week at a dinner with Foster on the luxurious grounds of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. The event allowed attendees to walk around the grounds of the estate in all of its fall beauty before the dinner talk. Foster took advantage of this by sprinting with his family through several of the Johnson pavilions. Stern, with his foot in a brace, preferred to lounge in the house with a martini and talk to Peter Eisenman. The conversation, moderated by Johnson scholar and Glass House Chief Curator Hilary Lewis, also covered the two architects' relationship with Philip and his "startling" Glass House, as well as Paul Rudolph and the Yale faculty. They both remembered Rudolph’s demanding studios, particularly his juries that might include the likes of Serge Chermayeff and Vincent Scully who all had a "powerful presence on the campus." Stern described a studio design by Foster and Rogers that apparently did not impress the jury. The scheme was for a science center, on the edge of New Haven that featured a central pedestrian spine with "ziggurat-like "laboratory clusters spilling down hillside." Rudolph, Stern said, “did not like the project, and Johnson snapped off one of the towers and said, 'these will have to go.'" Stern was at his quotable best all evening and claimed that Foster "has not gotten better, because he was perfect as a student." Foster was particularly impressed with Scully who, he said, "brought history alive for me for the first time." Today's visit to the Glass House, he concluded, made him realize that the New Canaan residence owed its siting to Wright who, Scully claimed, wanted houses "to disappear into the landscape." (Stern claimed that Wright once asked Johnson, derisively, if he was "still building little boxes on the landscape," but Wright nevertheless came to the Glass House to drink martinis.) Foster realized that in fact the Glass House was "not a little house on and above the land, but in fact disappears into the landscape," an observation made clear by the tranquil twilight talk. Stern and Foster agreed that today, it’s hard to describe how shockingly new the Glass House was to their generation. "I was one of the first students to visit the house," Stern said. "I did not know Philip Johnson, but I called him on the telephone, and he said, 'bring the boys down!' And I showed up with seven women..." The conversation ended on a more serious note as Foster promoted the goals of his private foundation in Madrid that address issues like climate change and the fact that a quarter of the world's population has no access to electricity, difficult topics he thinks the profession of architecture avoids. He finished by stating that, for most of the world's citizens, infrastructure is more important than architecture. Stern agreed with Foster’s assessment of the architecture profession and claimed that most of today's star architecture "is about individual ego and not context, [not] a continuation of the street or the history of the city." Stern sent the audience off to dinner with one of his quotable bon mots: "I like New Canaan but I wouldn’t want to live here." Stern and Foster were sent home with an official snow globes from the design store of the house to remember the evening.
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A look inside Chicago’s new Norman Foster-designed Apple flagship

Located at the intersection of North Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River, Pioneer Square was the home of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Chicago first permanent settler. Since then, it has been surrounded by some of the city’s most iconic architecture – the Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building, the Mies’s AMA Plaza, Marina City, and the Trump Tower. The newest addition to the design spectacle is the Norman Foster-designed Apple flagship store. Billed as “the most ambitious” Apple store yet, Foster’s design utilizes an incredibly thin 111-by-98-foot Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) roof. Held up by only four columns, the roof is only three feet and four inches at its thickest. This allows for the 32-foot-tall glass facade to stand completely clear of structure. “When Apple opened on North Michigan Avenue in 2003, it was our first flagship store, and now we are back in Chicago opening the first in a new generation of Apple’s most significant worldwide retail locations,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail in a press release. Since the 2003 opening, the earlier Michigan Avenue store has seen 23 million visitors. The new store hopes to better that with a closer connection to the city and the recently enlivened riverfront. The project’s glassy facade and a large stair brings guests from the level of Michigan Avenue, down past lower Michigan Avenue, to a new section of the Riverwalk. “Apple Michigan Avenue is about removing boundaries between inside and outside, reviving important urban connections within the city,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer in a press release. “It unites a historic city plaza that had been cut off from the water, giving Chicago a dynamic new arena that flows effortlessly down to the river.” To celebrate the opening of the new store, Apple has launched a program called “The Chicago Series,” a set of events and demonstrations. These events will set the stage for year-round “Today at Apple” public programming that will take place at the store.
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Foster + Partners reveals first public landscape design for Norton Museum of Art

Foster + Partners has designed sub-tropical green spaces and a sculpture garden as part of the $100 million expansion of West Palm Beach’s Norton Museum of Art. The new landscape will be composed of native flora and is based on the spatial concept of the masterplan—a series of 1941 Art Deco-inspired pavilions—by creating a series of “garden rooms” formed by trees and plantings. Each room will have a thematic sculpture grouping, with works by artists like Keith Haring, George Rickey, and Mark di Suervo. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster called it a “museum within a garden” in a statement. The campus’s native trees and flowers will create shaded walkways, while a great lawn will provide an open-air venue. The design includes eighty-two mature trees, including eight mahogany trees brought in from around the state to be planted on site. At the center of the design is a banyan tree that was part of the original 1941 design. It will anchor the entrance while the roof of the museum curves around it. As for the building extension, AN’s Jason Sayer put it best. “A simple, all-white stone facade and minimalist form stay true to the aesthetic of the 1941 original by New York’s Marion Sims Wyeth, where a subtle Art Deco style creates a central axial courtyard. Later developments meant that the original axial configuration, on which the building was based, was lost.” The extension is Foster + Partners’ third building in Florida, and was unveiled in 2013, broke ground in 2016, and is set for completion in 2019.
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Norman Foster Foundation inaugurates new foundation with major forum in Madrid

From Michael Bloomberg to Olafur Eliasson, figures from the worlds of design, business, art, academia, and government all gathered in Madrid’s Teatro Real on June 1 to discuss nothing less than how to save the world, all under the auspices of the Norman Foster Foundation.

The forum was titled “Future is Now,” and the primary challenges discussed were climate change, rapid urbanization, failing infrastructure, and global inequality. In his opening remarks, Foster stated that the pressing needs of the built environment “are far too important to be left to one profession.” Over the next few hours, the diverse selection of panelists explained how each of their fields could make a contribution, whether it was flying drones that could lay bricks, or models for large-scale water-infrastructure management. (See The Architect's Newspaper's full coverage of the Forum here.) The day was a call to action—Alejandro Aravena said that “cities could become social ticking time bombs” and “shortcuts to inequality”—as well as an overarching manifesto and debut event for the Norman Foster Foundation, which is based in Madrid. The foundation features an archive of Foster’s sketches and models, educational programming, an in-house architectural team, and a design and technology office that will conduct research into advanced materials like carbon fiber. The Foundation is totally independent from Foster’s firm, Foster and Partners, and has a mandate to tackle the loftier challenges outlined at the forum. It will also helm its own architectural projects, such the Droneport that debuted at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture and is slated for a town in Rwanda. The facility, a series of spaces encased by brick domes, aims to be a vital hub of trade and supply for remote settlements. If successful, it could serve as a prototype for similar projects across the continent.

The Foundation itself occupies a stately 1902 residence about a mile north of the Museo del Prado and Madrid’s city center. While almost all its programs are housed in the historic building, the Foundation also designed what it calls a “Pavilion of Inspirations,” a large glass-and-steel gallery that holds a collection of objects and artworks that inspire Foster—including Le Corbusier’s 1926 Avion Voisin Lumineuse car, a futurist sculpture by Umberto Boccioni, dozens of airplane and automobile models, and two designs by Buckminster Fuller, who was Foster’s mentor and collaborator.

If there were one architect who’s ideological influence loomed largest at the forum, it was Fuller, with his globe-spanning, innovation-focused view of humanity’s shared challenges. There were strong currents of techno-utopianism on some panels, and there were moments when it seemed that advanced drones and computers would supplant conventional architects in the near future. Still, with his foundation preserving and digitizing his sketches and models, Foster is betting that future generations will benefit from this study of his analog design process. When speaking to The Architect's Newspaper, Foster said he was excited by the promises of technology, but explained, “Basically, the computer is just another tool. And don’t fool yourself because of its ultra-sophistication and its artificial intelligence that it’s actually the brain.… I would defend that to the death.”

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Can technology and design save us? Norman Foster Foundation’s first forum ponders the challenges

The Architect’s Newspaper is in Madrid for The Future is Now Forum, the inaugural event hosted by the Norman Foster Foundation. The Forum featured a remarkable list of figures from the design world and beyond, from Pritzker Prizewinning architect Alejandro Aravena to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and historian Niall Ferguson. Foster and numerous panelists were optimistic that design and technology could provide solutions for an ecologically and urbanistically challenged planet, though the path forward isn't without dangers and challenges.  The forum was, in a way, the Madrid-based Foundation's debut. The organization aims to foster innovation and research on the built environment while also implementing real-world projects, such as the Droneport featured at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and slated for construction in Rwanda. The Foundation is inherently interdisciplinary in scope, with its wide-ranging focus extending from architecture to infrastructure, engineering, technology, cities, the arts, and more. “I describe it as questioning traditional hierarchies and adopting a roundtable approach to creativity,” said Foster in a description of the organization.
The Foundation (which is entirely separate from Foster + Partners) grew out of a series of international traveling scholarships for architects that Foster initiated in 2007. A physical space for the Foundation would not only receive the scholars, but promote its “holistic approach to design” to a wider audience through a range of programming and exhibitions. Those activities will be grounded with the Foundation’s archive of Foster’s work, which includes prototypes, drawings, transcripts, films, photographs, models, and more. Since 2017, more than 74,000 items have been cataloged and more than half those items are already digitized. Eventually, all of them will be available on the publicly accessible online archive. While the Foundation introduced its new headquarters two days ago (AN will follow up on its design when images become available), today was its inaugural Forum, which was split into three sections: Cities, Technology and Design, and Infrastructure. Foster kicked off the forum by describing the challenges the world faces, specifically rapid urbanization, a transportation revolution (such as driverless cars and pedestrianizing cities), and climate change. With a heavy dose of Buckminster Fuller, he emphasized the need for interdisciplinary intervention and holistic design, something the Foundation will do. The first panel (featuring former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Richard Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at London School of Economics, architect Maya Lin, and Foster himself) was fairly straightforward, with an emphasis on the benefits of urban density and the inherently democratic nature of cities. The overriding theme was a need for strong political leadership to present grand and compelling visions to tackle urban woes: "Cities in the West have forgotten the power of planning," Foster lamented. Elon Musk's Hyperloop and Bogotá's highly successful bus rapid transit (BRT) system were also highlighted as examples of successful, radical thinking as well. But it was a comment from former Mayor Bloomberg about technology eliminating jobs that would set the stage for sharp disagreements in the next panel.
The second panel focused on technology and design. It started with a set of striking projects from Professor Matthias Kohler of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which included flying drones constructing a brick tower and robots fabricating a new kind of formwork that allows for curving concrete shapes. Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of MIT Media Lab, was especially bullish on technology's potential to shape design: "The end of constructing things of components" such as bricks or concrete is coming to an end. Architecture will be "like planting a seed and watching a building grow... additive construction is over." Niall Ferguson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, countered that a massive backlash was coming for all this progress: When middle America and Europe figure out that technology is taking their jobs, he said, there will be resistance, even if it's futile. Citing Uber as an especially egregious example, he argued that Silicon Valley sees its inventions and inherently "awesome" and unstoppable, thereby failing to anticipate the reaction of those on the losing side of innovation. Furthermore, Ferguson described how many scientific inventions—from splitting the atom to drones—were frequently turned into weapons of war. His critique was hotly debated by Negroponte, though it succeeded in introducing doubt to the techno-utopian aspects of the Forum's Buckminster Fuller-esque aspirations. Next, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena delivered the keynote prelude to the final panel on infrastructure. He delivered a more grounded argument about the need for infrastructure to serve multiple roles in the cities. In the face of massive urban inequality, he said, we can't touch income directly but we can strategically design public spaces, transportation, and other urban infrastructure to ameliorate the problem. Examples included using hard infrastructure (e.g. waste treatment) to create new public spaces or platforms for housing, providing opportunities for individuals to be self-sufficient and off the grid, and prioritizing space-efficient transit (such as walking, biking, and buses over cars) in the precious public space of streets. His thoughts were echoed throughout the final panel that followed. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and seminal figure in Rebuild By Design, emphasized that infrastructure is a political and cultural challenge as well an engineering one. "We had a water democracy in the 1100s," he said of the Netherlands, which meant the public was always deeply included in the design process. Without a similar process, communities won't understand, own, or accept big infrastructure projects. Also on the panel was Jonathan Ledgard, director of Rossums Group and leader of the Norman Foster Foundation's Droneport project, who sought to counter Ferguson's earlier critique. He cited the Droneport, a hub for commerce and community where drones bring and send away small, high-value goods (such as medicine or mechanical parts) as one example of how low and high technology can mix to benefit the common good. Foster concluded the forum on a historical note. While cars have become the enemies of cities, they were once their saviors, as they eliminated the mountains of horse manure that horse-driven carriages and trucks created. Yesterday's friend can become today's enemy. Still, he said, "the exchanges today give me great hope for the future."