How much does your building weigh Mr Foster is a documentary on Sir Norman Foster and his firm Foster + Partners. The tone of the documentary is uncritical so that it comes across as a promotional film, but it has some great content in it. Key outtakes for me were:
Much of their approach is about having a ‘young optimistic’ view of things, by that they mean:
- A modernist derived view that didn’t necessarily consider industry and science as evil – Foster liked the ‘romance’ of industrial Chicago in the 1960s whilst at Yale studying architecture
- Trying new processes new materials
- New ideas
- Thinking big
They think long and hard about experience:
- Making it enriching
- Signless design – a design shouldn’t need signage, it should just work
- His designs broke down class boundaries at the Olsen building he wanted to provide as good a building experience for blue collar workers as he did for their managers
Despite being knowledge economy workers, they needed to scale to a global business with points-of-presence worldwide to provide financial security.
Foster had served in the RAF and this influenced the efficiency focus of his designs influencing structures and the kind of materials that they used. This was reinforced by his friendship with Buckminster Fuller.