A video of the office of Schemata Architects in Aoyama, Tokyo.
“Quality is an attitude of mind.” The great architectural mastermind of our time Norman Foster, who turned 80 in June 2015, here reflects on a long and prosperous career – and life – with prominent buildings and more than 1,000 employees all over the world.
Foster has always considered technology to be an ally. As a child he was immensely excited by machines and their speed – he spent many hours making sketches of and reading about them. He left school at age 16, did National Service for two years, worked different jobs to earn money, but never abandoned his private world of drawing and dreaming. When he discovered that he as an architect could actually do the things that had always excited him, it simply didn’t feel like work.
Respecting the structure of a city or a place is essential: “I’ve realized the important links between individual buildings and infrastructure.” Architecture has to address the bigger issues and make a difference to the world we live in. Architects can’t solve every problem in the world, but what they can do, however, is to contribute by turning the complex into something simple via shape as well as material and being aware of the “urban glue” that binds everything together: “We have rethought, redesigned, reinvented. We have questioned and gone back to basics.”
Norman Robert Foster (b. 1935) is an English architect and designer, who is considered one of the most prolific architects of his generation. He is the founder of Foster and Partners (1967) and responsible for renowned buildings such as London City Hall and Millennium Bridge (London), Reichstag (Berlin), Bilbao Metro, Hearst Tower (New York), Hong Kong International Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport and Apple Spaceship Headquarters (est. 2016). Foster, who is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers and winner of the society’s highest award, The Minerva Medal, has received several awards such as the Pritzker-prize in 1999 (often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture), the Stirling Prize in 1998 and 2004, as well as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture – the biggest architectural award in the world – for the University of Technology Petronas in Malaysia (2007). He was knighted in 1990, and in 1999 he was created a life peer, as Baron Foster of Thames Bank, of Reddish in the County of Greater Manchester.
Norman Foster was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in his home near Geneva, Switzerland in April 2015.
Camera: Mathias Nyholm
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Music: ‘Draw a Blank’ by Søren Dahl Jeppesen (from Find the Tune)
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015
Supported by Nordea-fonden
Torre David, a 45-story office tower in Caracas, was almost complete when it was abandoned following the death of its developer and a national banking crisis that crippled the Venezuelan economy in 1994. Neglected for over a decade, in 2007 it became the improvised home for a community of over 800 families living in an extra-legal and tenuous occupation that many called a vertical slum.
This short documentary reveals what life was like for residents several years prior to the government’s eviction in 2014. Filmed as part of larger project by the interdisciplinary design team, Urban-Think Tank, the movie was part of a larger research and design project that resulted in a book and numerous exhibitions, including the Golden-Lion-winning exhibition at the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture.
More information on the project at:
The Infinite Happiness is a highly unusual architectural experience. The film takes us to the heart of one of the contemporary housing developments considered to be a new model of success: the giant “8 House” designed in 2009 by Danish architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group in the suburbs of Copenhagen.
Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine recount their month-long immersion inside this experiment of vertical village, nominated “World best residential building” in 2011.
As a Lego game, the film builds up a collection of life stories all interconnected by their personal relation to the building. Drawing the lines of a human map, the film reveals the building through an inner and intimate point of view. By showing the surprising results of this innovative social model, the directors question the architecture’s ability to create collective happiness.
“An ode to the social power of architecture!” Der Standard
““So original, so vivid and witty. Beka and Lemoine bring the gods down to earth.” Der Tagesspiegel
“Wonderful! Blessedly free of the customary documentary trappings.” Chicago Tribune
More information on the project: