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Norman Foster Defines Today’s Challenges in Architecture


The prestigious architect highlights the fundamental role of public spaces.

Few architects can boast the experience and brilliance of Britain’s Norman Foster (Manchester, 1935). With a professional career spanning five decades and having won practically all the most prestigious awards, Foster is undoubtedly one of the maximum authorities in contemporary architecture. And precisely for this reason, when the creator of buildings such as the Wembley Stadium speaks, it’s important to listen to him.

In a press conference marking the II International Congress on Architecture and Society held in Pamplona a couple of years ago, Foster highlighted the social role of architecture. Beyond it being glamorous, he said he does not understand architecture as a spectacle but rather as a close companion of all societies. And referring to the fundamental objective of this discipline, the British genius was clear: “To respond to the social, spiritual and material needs” of human beings.

As an old saying goes, crises are also the moments of greatest opportunities, and Foster made it clear that he agrees with that philosophy. In the face of the crushing mood that has descended on Spain as a result of the economic difficulties, the architect said that some of the most notable buildings in the history of architecture flourished during times of scarce resources, which force us to “do more with less.”

Later, during the same congress, Foster praised the role public spaces play in the social context by being responsible for connecting a city. “Public space is a great space, a central element of society, and is a question that emerged from our existence in caves; a constant throughout history,” he was quoted by Europa Press as saying.

As often happens with Foster, regardless of the context in which he makes a speech, the architect once again spoke of the most relevant aspects of the architecture movement, and which can well be applied to other areas: in times of crisis we must be optimistic, innovative and, above all, consistent.

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