Like most things in today’s age, the very buildings we create are becoming smarter and more innovative. In the UK and beyond, many of these innovations in design and structure have come out of Foster + Partners — an innovative architecture and design practice based in London. Some of the most iconic buildings on the London skyline owe their existence to Foster + Partners — 30 St Mary Axe (London’s first environmental skyscraper) and City Hall are just two of these.
Founded by Norman Foster 50 years ago in 1967, Foster + Partners has been at the forefront of a new age in architecture — the company has designed buildings on six continents, working on cultural and civic projects, public infrastructure and a wide range of diverse works worldwide.
Well-travelled readers will likely have come into contact with a variety of works by Foster + Partners on their journey. From vast projects such as Tower 2 at the redevelopment of Manhattan’s World Trade Centre, to areas as seemingly simple as the public furniture in Marseille, France, we can find the Foster + Partners touch in all corners of the globe.
As pioneers of sustainable design, Foster + Partners is best known for its work with glass and steel. Each project is approached with cultural sensitivity at its heart, and the collaborative ethos of the company means that each project is the work of a strong team. Architects and engineers collaborate to create design solutions that are supported from idea to completion by a core team of project managers. With the same team seeing each project through from start to finish, Foster + Partners makes sure there’s not too many cooks in the kitchen.
The company’s commitment to sustainable design has led to the development of some of the world’s most iconic eco-structures. Each project is approached with a unique consideration of the needs of the environment and the demands on the proposed structure. As a facility for designing and testing some of the world’s most notable vehicles, the team’s work on the McLaren Technology Centre is a fine example of this fully catered offering. The design process had to complement the wares each development is designed to house — and as detailed on the Foster + Partners website the McLaren Technology Centre was similarly designed to perform like a racing car – the most effective energy systems were specified, along with extensive BMS and sub-metering to monitor and control the building.” Add to this its positioning by a lake to aid with cooling and you’ll find the McLaren Technology Centre is a feat of energy-efficient design.
Between 2006 and 2014 the team worked on redeveloping an area of downtown Washington DC which was formerly occupied by the Washington Convention Centre. This project saw the team delve into the history of DC’s street pattern, repurposing the space as a multi-use site guided by climate analysis and designed to maximise daylight hours in central areas. The intricate detailing found in Foster + Partners’ processes and attention to cultural sensitivity means that each development gives a nod to local culture and is conscious of maximising on its climate.
Current Foster + Partners news tells of a range of projects in development — the most notable of which is Apple Park. In April 2017 the highly anticipated Apple Park will open to employees. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners, Apple’s new 175-acre campus is a feat of engineering, with its Steve Jobs Theatre — a 1000-seat auditorium which is entered via a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder which supports a metallic carbon-fiber roof. The development will be fully sustainable and run entirely on renewable energy — another example of Foster + Partners’ proclivity for sustainable design.
The team at Foster + Partners continues to innovate across the globe, putting homegrown design into action in London and beyond. Now half a century into the company’s journey, Foster + Partners continues to design and build on the cusp of cutting edge technology, creating awe-inspiring buildings with conscience.