Norman Foster was born in Manchester in 1935. He studied architecture and town planning in his home town before gaining a Henry Scholarship to go to Yale, where he completed his postgraduate studies in architecture.
In 1967 he created his studio, Foster Associates, currently known as Foster and Partners, which has been the base for his activity in recent years.
Foster’s studio has its headquarters in London and project offices throughout the world. He has worked in 48 countries, and is currently involved in projects in 22 nations. Since the start of its professional activities, the Norman Foster studio has received around 300 prizes and awards, and has won over 65 national and international competitions. He won the Pritzker Award (The Nobel Prize of Architecture) in 1999.
Major creations of Foster and Partners include Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong; the headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in the same city and of the Commerzbank in Frankfurt; Stansted Airport, London; the Century Tower in Tokyo; the Carré d’Art (art gallery and cultural centre) in Nimes, the Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts, London; the Willis, Faber & Dumas Headquarters, Ipswich; and the University of East Anglia Sainsbury Visual Arts Centre, Norwich (England).
His most recent projects include the new international airport at Beijing, the new German Parliament building for the Reichstag in Berlin, the Swiss Re headquarters building, the Great Court of the British Museum, the London Millennium Bridge and the pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square in London, the new Singapore Supreme Court building, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Dallas Opera.
Foster always steers clear from anything over ornate. He prefers simple, light, but suggestive lines like those of Millennium Bridge in London, which joins the Tate Modern with the City. In the case of the Silken Puerta de América rooms, by choosing leather, he manages to bring different sensations without overloading the space unnecessarily. In addition, the different textures of the material manage to give guests different acoustic sensations.
Foster personifies High-tech elegance. Here he plays with shapes and materials to express luxury and sensuality, but especially, to get guests to disconnect from the hectic environment of a large city like Madrid. This was his main goal. It is all inspired by the palette of materials of Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida, a personal friend of the architect. Chillida explores natural materials and organic shapes in his work, which Foster has reinterpreted on the second floor.
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