31 Facts About Norman Foster


Closely associated with the development of high-tech architecture, Norman Foster is recognised as a key figure in British modernist architecture.

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Norman Foster is the president of the Norman Foster Foundation, created to 'promote interdisciplinary thinking and research to help new generations of architects, designers and urbanists to anticipate the future'.

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Norman Foster's father was a machine painter at the Metropolitan-Vickers works in Trafford Park, which influenced Norman to take up engineering, design, and, ultimately, architecture.

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Norman Foster's parents were diligent and hard workers who often had neighbours and family members look after her son, which Norman Foster later believed restricted his relationship with his mother and father.

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Norman Foster considered himself quiet and awkward in his early years.

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In 1953, Norman Foster completed his national service in the Royal Air Force, choosing the air force because aircraft had been a longtime hobby.

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Norman Foster had seven O-levels by this time, and applied to work at a duplicating machine company, telling the interviewer he had applied for the prospect of a company car and a £1, 000 salary.

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In 1956, Norman Foster began study at the School of Architecture and City Planning, part of the University of Manchester.

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Norman Foster was ineligible for a maintenance grant, so he took part-time jobs to fund his studies, including an ice-cream salesman, bouncer, and night shifts at a bakery making crumpets.

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In 1963, Norman Foster returned to the UK and established his own architectural practice, Team 4, with Rogers, Su Brumwell, and the sisters Georgie and Wendy Cheesman.

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From 1968 to 1983, Norman Foster collaborated with American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller on several projects that became catalysts in the development of an environmentally sensitive approach to design, such as the Samuel Beckett Theatre at St Peter's College, Oxford.

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Norman Foster Associates concentrated on industrial buildings until 1969, when the practice worked on the administrative and leisure centre for Fred.

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The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, an art gallery and museum on the campus of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, was one of the first major public buildings to be designed by Norman Foster, completed in 1978, and became grade II* listed in December 2012.

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In 1981, Norman Foster received a commission for the construction of a new terminal building at London's Stansted Airport.

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Norman Foster said that if the firm had not won the contract it would probably have been bankrupted.

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Norman Foster was assigned the brief for a development on the site of the Baltic Exchange, which had been damaged beyond repair by an IRA bomb, in the 1990s.

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The proposal was scrapped and instead Norman Foster proposed 30 St Mary Axe, popularly referred to as "the gherkin", after its shape.

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Norman Foster worked with engineers to integrate complex computer systems with the most basic physical laws, such as convection.

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Norman Foster's style has evolved into a more sharp-edged modernity.

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Norman Foster worked with Steve Jobs from about 2009 until Jobs' death to design the Apple offices, Apple Campus 2, in Cupertino, California, US.

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In January 2007, the Sunday Times reported that Norman Foster had called in Catalyst, a corporate finance house, to find buyers for Norman Foster + Partners.

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Norman Foster currently sits on the board of trustees at architectural charity Article 25 who design, construct and manage innovative, safe, sustainable buildings in some of the most inhospitable and unstable regions of the world.

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Norman Foster has been on the Board of Trustees of The Architecture Foundation.

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Norman Foster believes that attracting young talent is essential, and is proud that the average age of people working for Norman Foster and Partners is 32, just like it was in 1967.

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In 1996, Norman Foster married Spanish psychologist and art curator Elena Ochoa.

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Norman Foster has five children; two of the four sons he had with Cheesman are adopted.

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Norman Foster received chemotherapy treatment and made a full recovery.

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Norman Foster was made a Knight Bachelor in the 1990 Birthday Honours, and thereby granted the title Sir.

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Norman Foster was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy on 19 May 1983, and a Royal Academician (RA) on 26 June 1991.

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Norman Foster was awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, for the University of Technology Petronas in Malaysia, and in 2008 he was granted an honorary degree from the Dundee School of Architecture at the University of Dundee.

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In 2012, Norman Foster was among the British cultural figures selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles' Sgt.

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