Exploring The City
Norman Foster (Foster + Partners)


Norman Foster

©Andrew Ward

I'm probably going to talk about links between my own interests as a student, and later opportunities to develop and explore those interests through practice. They take the form of explorations with occasional insights into the process that lies behind them a glimpse, in a way, of how our studio works.


The Campo In Siena, Tuscany

©Norman Foster

If I look at a photograph that I took as a student of Sienna, it's probably the first of four themes. And I try to separate those themes out, but in reality they all kind of weave together, and they get mixed up. And the first theme is really about spaces, and routes. And, as a student in fourth year, I got completely carried away by studying a whole range of spaces and I measured them, drew cross-sections, observed them, wondered why they were so popular, why they were meeting points, why life was there. One part of that interest was the way that you arrived in these spaces. And there always seemed to be a contrast: the compression of the way that you might enter through very, very tight spaces and sort of explode into these civic spaces. Another theme is light and lightness. And so again those qualities of light and lightness again start to overlap. I mean, the, Galleria in Milan is obviously very much about a route a shortcut between the Cathedral Square and La Scala.

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