Posts tagged with "Norman Foster":

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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."
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Foster + Partners unveil first glimpses of the new Apple campus

Late last month, Apple’s 12,000 employee workforce began to move into the technology company’s new 2.8-million-square-foot headquarters in Cupertino, California designed by architects Foster + Partners, according to a press release. The move-in process will take a full six months to complete, capping off the over eight-year long saga involved in transforming an old parking lot into the so-called “Apple Park” complex, which Apple has dubbed as founder Steve Jobs’s “last product launch,” according to Wired. Jobs initiated the quest to build the new headquarters in 2008, a project that consumed him until his death in 2011. In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook praised Jobs’s vision and said, “[Jobs] intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come. The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.” To commemorate the end of construction for the $5 billion project, Apple has released several images of the completed complex, a building that contains the largest operable glass walls in the world, among its other superlative qualities. The donut-shaped office complex is located at the center of a 175-acre wooded site that has been reengineered by a series of earthworks and has been re-planted with over 9,000 specimens of drought-tolerant flora, including fruit trees. As if the building were a spaceship that had landed on its site, the highly-constructed landscape finds its way into the building’s donut hole-shaped courtyard, where it is accessible from the office spaces. The site arrangement comes from Jobs’s penchant for taking country walks in nearby areas; the office’s grounds contain over two miles’ worth of walking paths, among other features.

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The main, four-story building is topped by slightly-gabled roof containing an 805,000-square-foot solar array that provides much of the power for the complex. The arrays are interrupted by a continuous, protruding light monitor that facilitates the building’s passive ventilation strategies. The building is not mechanically ventilated, but instead relies on a combination of convection cooling and thermal massing provided by radiant heating and cooling systems to regulate its internal climate. On one end, the building is punctuated by two pairs of four-story-tall hangar doors—each of which weighing 440,000 pounds—that are controlled by silent mechanical equipment embedded underground. Those apertures convert an interior, two-level yoga studio and cafeteria area into a massive outdoor room. The glass doors—and the curved glass curtain walls along the exteriors of the project—were fabricated by German fabricator Seele Group. The yoga studio and its attendant 100,000-square-foot wellness center will offer healthcare and dental services for Apple’s employees.

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The complex also contains a 1,000-seat performancetheatere that will be named for Jobs. The theater is capped by a 20-foot tall, 165-foot wide glass cylinder and by a carbon-fiber roof. Designs for the theater were reportedly heavily influenced by Jobs’s sensitivities and will be used for the company’s future product launches. Construction and landscaping improvements will continue to wrap up on the complex as the employees slowly filter in over the following months.
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Renderings revealed for Foster + Partners’ new tower at Hudson Yards

Today the developer of Hudson Yards has revealed designs for the Far West Side's newest tower.

Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group unveiled the icy cloudbuster for 50 Hudson Yards, designed by global firm Foster + Partners. The 985-foot, 58-story structure covers an entire city block.

“50 Hudson Yards is envisaged as a vertical campus in the heart of Manhattan that is eminently readable at city scale with three distinct blocks stacked one above the other,” said Nigel Dancey, Foster + Partners' head of studio, in a statement. “Crafted from a simple palette of white stone and glass, the building’s primary structure has been pushed to the edges to create large-span flexible floorplates. It aspires to define the workplace of the future, bringing to the fore the practice’s values of innovation and creativity by producing a positive work environment that seeks to fulfill the needs and expectations of a demanding workforce.”

When complete, the 2.9 million-square-foot building at 33rd Street and 10th Avenue will be the city's fourth largest office tower. When the building opens in 2022, principal tenants like the financial company BlackRock will enjoy outdoor terraces and private "sky lobbies," as well as access to 30 Hudson Yards' outdoor observation platform.

The New York Times reports that New York State is giving Blackrock, a company with more than $5 trillion in assets, a $25 million tax break to stay in the state and move into the shiny new tower.

Construction is expected to begin next year on the white stone– and glass-clad building. In the renderings, glass windows are framed by stone while dark-outlined floors peek out from behind the glazed facade. Column-free floorplates that span a minimum of 50,000 square feet per floor are able to accommodate 500-plus people, and workers on some floors will enjoy expansive outdoor spaces, the result of periodic setbacks.

“Covering a full city block, the building is highly permeable at ground level, allowing it to engage fully with its urban location," Norman Foster, founding principal of Foster + Partners, said in a statement. "Designed for a sustainable future, the building makes an important contribution to the regeneration of the far west side of Manhattan.”

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AN speaks to Norman Foster as “Building with History: The Exhibit” opens at the Hearst Tower

Designed by Norman Foster, the Hearst Tower on 57th Street and 8th Avenue celebrated its tenth anniversary last week. To mark the occasion, the British Pritzker Prize-winning architect was on hand to give a talk on the tower while also overseeing the opening of Building with History: The Exhibit which showcases 28 scale models of projects both past and present from Foster + Partners.

At the talk (which was held with ELLE DECOR Editor-in-Chief, Michael Boodro), Foster discussed his architectural philosophy, in particular to the "social agenda" deep rooted in modernism's ideals, something which Foster was captivated by when he was younger and said today, "still burns." With the new technology now available at modernists' disposal, Foster argued that architects today can now "literally do more with less."

"The most interesting buildings always have a certain sense of theater... [and] celebration," he continued. "In this building, it is about turning an impossible problem into a celebration." Foster explained how the challenge of placing escalators along the site's orthogonal axis was resolved by orientating them diagonally. The theatrics of the space was further amplified through artist Jamie Carpenter's adjacent waterfall.

Building with History exhibits Foster's focus on circulation on varying scales: From the small-scale infrastructure solutions of the Hearst Tower, Imperial War Museums, and Reichstag, to the pedestrianization of Trafalgar Square. Building with History is filled with more than just models, though. Plans, sections, and photographs detail many buildings' progressions through the design process.

Speaking to The Architect’s Newspaper after the talk, Foster discussed infrastructure in light of President-Elect Donald Trump’s speech. “Human nature is about crossing boundaries,” he said. “Even though I am an architect and passionate about designing individual buildings… over the years I have become more and more sure that [infrastructure] is the main priority and that architects ignore it at their peril."

“This exhibit brings back many memories about the inception of Hearst Tower,” Foster continued. “Walking into the building a decade later, you immediately note the flourishing sense of community, and it takes me back to the very earliest days of the project.”

Building with History runs until April 15, 2017. 

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Norman Foster awarded golden cast of his own brain

British architect Norman Foster has been given the Scopus Award from the Friends of The Hebrew University. This year's award saw Foster presented with a golden replica of his brain—all while Foster himself was also gifted a "mad scientist" brain cap complete with protruding LED lights. New York-based Serbian artist Marina Abramovic designed the award and presented it to Foster at Campus Biotech in Geneva. The Scopus Award is the highest honor offered by the Friends of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Foster was given the prize for his “exceptional cultural contribution and humanitarian concerns.”  To make a (sadly non-functioning) copy of Foster's brain, Abramovic used a 3D scan of the architect's skull. Speaking in Artnet, Abramovic said:
I really like Norman Foster, and his sense of humor. And, he’s English, so I was thinking how to combine these things. So I thought, scan his brain. Let’s create some kind of replica of his brain itself, as a sculpture… You know, in England, every tea set has a tea cozy, so I said, let’s make a cozy for the brain, but one that can somehow create a charge or create light. It creates some kind of mad scientist idea of luminosity coming out.
Dubbed "The Golden Brain Gala" by attendees, guests were given gold-dusted chocolate casts if Abramovic’s lips as well as a rectangle of gold leaf (which attendees were encouraged to be used as lipstick). Afterward, guests had the opportunity to eat a golden ball made of almonds, black and white peppercorns, coriander seeds, honey, and 24-carat gold—a recipe Abramovic learned while fasting with Tibetan monks.
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London Mayor Refloats Foster’s Thames Transport Hub

With a new report, London Mayor and Conservative MP Boris Johnson has re-pitched his Thames Estuary Transport Hub, dubbed “Boris Island” by some, as an alternative to additional runways at Gatwick and Heathrow Airports. The project is in a similar vein to the Riker's Island La Guardia airport expansion proposed by Jim Venturi.

The proposal, initially launched in 2013, was masterplanned by Norman Foster. With other major infrastructure projects like High Speed Two (new high-speed rail lines that would link London to cities as far as Leeds) and CrossRail already in the pipeline, “Boris Island” has never been a fit for UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s austerity government.

In 2014, the Airports Commission ditched the scheme due to its high capital costs. Two years later the idea has resurfaced, along with the Mayor’s newfound political clout as he defies his incumbent party leader David Cameron in backing an E.U. exit

The plan promises rail, sea, aircraft, communication and power infrastructure amalgamated into one hub on the Thames estuary in Kent by the medway. New flight paths into the capital would also mean much less noise pollution, something that already plagues areas adjacent to the two-runway Heathrow airport. Additionally, Foster cites how every three months, a plane low on fuel or with an engine failure flies over London, a risk this plan would alleviate. A proposed rail network would also run around the capital, instead of through it, to reach the airport island and Europe beyond. This, in Foster’s eyes, would bridge the UK's North/South divide and create more trade with the European continent. This rail network would also link up to the existing and under-construction High Speed 2 and CrossRail network.

Also part of the plan would be a new hydroelectric facility in the Thames that would power the hub. With an existing barrier already in action downstream, two miles east of the Isle of Dogs, this new construction would further protect against rising sea levels.

Foster + Partners does have a good track record in delivering similar schemes. Both Beijing's airport—the biggest airport in the world—and Hong Kong's airports were delivered on time and on budget by the firm. They were also voted by travelers as “the best airport experiences in the world.

In his report Landing The Right Airport, Mayor Johnson states that Foster’s hub is the only way to secure enough capacity. "Our analysis predicts that they would offer around double the number of long haul and domestic destinations served by Heathrow today, while exposing 95% fewer people to significant aircraft noise,” he says.

According to the BBC, Daniel Moylan, aviation adviser to the Mayor, says the plan could cost up to $35 billion—with an extra $35 billion needed for road and rail connections. A third runway could cost $28 billion.

However, opponents argue the transport hub would cost significantly more, at around $130 billion. Not only that, it would also disrupt wildlife habitats as well as rendering Southend and London City airports obsolete.  Meanwhile travel time into central London would also be longer compared to Heathrow.

Johnson though, remains undeterred. "If we are to secure the connectivity we need to support our future growth and prosperity and do so without dire impacts on public health—then we must do better than Heathrow,” he concluded.

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Foster + Partners, BIG, and Grimshaw showcase pavilion designs for 2020 Dubai Expo

Dubai, seemingly the architectural playground of choice in recent times, was selected to host the 2020 World Expo three years ago. The event, which will last six months, will have the theme of "Connecting Minds, Creating Future." Not wanting to miss an opportunity to flaunt extravagant designs, Danish architect Bjarke Ingles and Brits Norman Foster and Nick Grimshaw have wasted no time jumping on the Dubai bandwagon. Their three firms, BIG, Foster + Partners and Grimshaw Architects have all received the green light to contribute pavilions touching on themes like mobility, sustainability, and opportunity. His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo Higher Committee in partnership with Emaar Properties, unveiled the winners of the competition this month. BIG will design the "Opportunity Pavilion" which showcases an extravagant undulating facade curved in three dimensions. The structure invites audiences in by revealing the central lobby and core of the pavilion which also houses an array of trees and plant life. Foster + Partners put forward their "Mobility Pavilion," which is equally outlandish and curvaceous. Foster reportedly drew on his experiences when master-planning Masdar City—a city in Abu Dhabi that will rely solely on renewable energy. Finally Grimshaw Architects' "Sustainability Pavilion" maintains the trend toward elliptical design, with a replica of a large solar collector. Usually seen in the desert, similar designs require a tower to focus the light onto the collector (and others in the vicinity). Here, the large disc, which is acutely curved to form a bowl, is surrounded by many smaller versions that stand freely around it. The three pavilions make up only a fraction of the 200 hectare site of the Expo, expected to open in four years.