Norman Foster RA

My first event back in London has been to attend the launch of a book by Paul Goldberger, the former architecture critic of the New York Times, about Norman Foster’s approach to building projects which has frequently involved the preservation of the old alongside the creation of the new (at Nîmes, the British Museum, the Reichstag, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston).   The launch was held – very appropriately – at the RA because the design of the Sackler Wing, which opened in 1991, was key to the practice’s approach to how to work within the organism of an historic building.   The answer was not to mimic, or be deferential, but be confident in the contribution of the new to the old.   This may now sound obvious, but at the time was very important in producing a change in attitude not just to old buildings – that they can, and should, evolve – but also to new buildings – that they exist in a continuum and should be treated with equivalent respect.

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2 thoughts on “Norman Foster RA

  1. David French says:

    A really interesting subject. What makes a successful contemporary addition to a revered institution? Are the essential requirements i) respect in scale and proportion for the old; ii) demonstrating its own additional value (aesthetic or functional or both); iii) exuding at least as much quality as the ‘parent’? The Sackler Wing certainly ticks all those boxes.

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