Sir Norman Foster's pursuit of the art and science of architecture has resulted in one building triumph after another, each one in its own way, unique. He has re-invented the tall building, producing Europe's tallest and arguably the first skyscraper with an ecological conscience, the Commerzbank in Frankfurt. He cares passionately for the environment, designing accordingly. From his very first projects, it was evident that he would embrace the most advanced technology appropriate to the task, producing results sensitive to their sites, always with imaginative solutions to design problems. His design objectives are guided not only toward the overall beauty and function of a project, but for the wellbeing of those people who will be the end-users. This social dimension to his work translates as making every effort to transform and improve the quality of life. In the early seventies, he pioneered the notion that the workplace could be a pleasant environment with one of his first notable projects, the Willis Faber and Dumas offices, that included a swimming pool and grassy rooftop park for employees.
In the three decades since, Sir Norman has produced a collection of buildings and products noted for their clarity, invention, and sheer artistic virtuosity. His work ranges in scale from the modest, but exquisite new addition of the Sackler Galleries to the existing galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and the serenely simple limestone addition to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, Nebraska—to a pair of grand mega-projects, both in Hong Kong, the world's largest air terminal, and the much-acclaimed Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.
Proof of his ability to produce remarkable solutions for diverse programs in urban settings is his sensitive placement and design of the Carré d'Art, a cultural center next to a revered Roman temple, dating from 500 BC, in the heart of Nîmes, France. Such a juxtaposition of contemporary and ancient architecture has rarely been achieved so successfully. His transformation of more recent historic icons—the Reichstag in Berlin and the new Great Court of the British Museum—are brilliant redesign-renovations.