Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank

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30 St Mary Axe, London

Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, OM (born 1 June 1935) is a British architect whose company maintains an international design practice. He is Britain's most prolific builder of landmark office buildings.[1] In 2009 Foster was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award in the Arts category.



Foster was born in Reddish, Stockport, England,[2] to a working-class family. Leaving school at 16, he worked in the Manchester City Treasurer's office before joining National Service in the Royal Air Force. After he was discharged, in 1956 Foster attended the University of Manchester's School of Architecture and City Planning (graduating in 1961). He took an interest in the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. He won the Henry Fellowship to the Yale School of Architecture, where he met future business partner Richard Rogers and earned his Master's degree. He then traveled in America for a year, returning to the UK in 1963 where he set up an architectural practice as Team 4 with Rogers and the sisters Georgie and Wendy Cheesman. Georgie (later Wolton) was the only one of the team that had passed her RIBA exams allowing them to set up in practice on their own. Team 4 quickly earned a reputation for high-tech industrial design.

Foster and Partners

After Team 4 went their separate ways, in 1967 Foster and Wendy Cheesman founded Foster Associates, which later became Foster and Partners. 1968 saw the beginning of a long period of collaboration with American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, which continued until Fuller's death in 1983, on several projects that became catalysts in the development of an environmentally sensitive approach to design - including the Samuel Beckett Theatre project.

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