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Left: via Norman Foster on Instagram; right: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

从福斯特(Norman Foster)巴比肯演讲中所学到的5大要点
5 Lessons From Norman Foster’s Lecture at the Barbican


建筑大师诺曼•福斯特(Norman Foster)于1990年荣获建筑爵士奖章,于1999年获得普利兹克建筑奖,同时也获得了贵族荣誉称号,在当今建筑界中,福斯特做出的贡献首屈一指。近期,福斯特在一次演讲中,谈论了关于城市景观的未来发展,该演讲由巴比肯建筑基金会主办,是“Architecture On Stage”系列的第七部分。本次演讲的内容相对宽泛,福斯特通过其事务所的相关项目谈及了对于未来城市发展的预测,其中也充分表明了,福斯特的解决策略与其敏锐的洞察力相辅相成。以下是来自本次演讲的5大要点,它们能够很好地帮助你理解福斯特的思维模式。

After being knighted in 1990 for services to architecture, winning the 1999 Pritzker Prize and then gaining peerage in the same year, it could be argued that there is no living architect that has had a larger impact on urban life than Norman Foster. In a recent talk, Foster addressed a sold-out Barbican Hall on the future of our growing urban landscape, in the seventh installment of the Architecture On Stage series organized by The Architecture Foundation with the Barbican. While the content was full of grandiose statements and predictions, of a scale similar to the projects Foster's practice undertakes, it was the problem-solving approach he showed that gave more of an insight into the man himself. The following 5 lessons gleaned from the presentation won't guarantee Foster-like levels of success, but they may be able to help you navigate the challenges that architecture can present, both personally and professionally.


Courtesy of Norman Foster Foundation



1. Architecture is more than a building
As obvious as this may sound, it is easy to fixate on a facade or roof, the most ego-driven aspect of any project. But what we can lose in the quest for Instagram perfection is the true purpose of architecture: designing a space to be used by a community. Foster consistently reiterated this point, referencing the creation of something more than just a building, saying it was “difficult to separate the architecture from the infrastructure.” By not simply thinking about how it will look, and concentrating on how it will work, a building will have a greater chance of enriching the lives of the people who use it. Whether it’s the creation of a public space, the pedestrianization of the surrounding context, or maintaining a path through the building’s core—Foster’s focus upon more than just aesthetics is key to the perceived success of many of his projects.


© Wikimedia user Russ McGinn licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0


从福斯特的演讲中我们可以感受到其深厚的历史文化和理论知识。这对于这位已经从业超过五十年的建筑师来说是一大优势,他能够精准地说明多个项目的各个不同要素,同时尖锐地指出其背后的探索目的。除了一些经典项目之外,福斯特甚至还能从小众领域中寻求灵感,例如Georgii Krutikov和美国国家航空航天局的“Stanford Torus”,这些都说明了其深厚的文化内涵。另外,他也经常谈论到每个项目背后的主要研究事项,例如建筑的原型与模型,以及城市的生活研究调查,这一切的一切都能引起福斯特的关注。在经过重重研究之后所得出的结论,往往能经得起推敲,这也避免了项目建成之后的多重质疑。

2. Research is king
What was clear from hearing Foster speak was the depth of historical and theoretical knowledge he had. While this might seem an obvious trait of someone who has been at the very top of his profession for over 50 years, it was nevertheless impressive how he could pinpoint individual elements of multiple projects and provide their research-driven purpose. Aside from the expected classic texts, Foster drew inspiration from slightly more off-piste references, like Georgii Krutikov and Nasa’s "Stanford Torus," showing the extensive contextual background demanded in his office. He also frequently talked about the practice's primary research, from their extensive prototypes and models to the investigative studies of urban life in favelas, something Foster seemed particularly passionate about. If a decision is well researched then it can rarely be wrong, avoiding the awkward silence after a client (or college reviewer) asks “but... why?”


Courtesy of Foster + Partners, ARUP, Kier + Wright, Apple



3. “We all gravitate to what we do best”
In 2010, Norman Foster was one of several peers to give up their seat in the House of Lords. During the Q&A, an audience member asked whether he regrets the decision in which he gave up a great platform to encourage the changes he had spoken so passionately about. In response, Foster said: “we all gravitate to what we do best.” He claimed that he was far more useful as a designer, leading by example, than he would ever be as a politician arguing day after day. Taken at face value, this sentiment is key to the effective communication of ideas. Improving holistically is still important, but our skills are naturally weighted in certain areas; be it model-making, drawing, pitching or detailing; and in focusing on your strengths you can help maximize a project’s success. In Foster's case, it's also probably the reason why the former RAF man has designed no less than 7 airports—he's good at it.


Courtesy of Foster + Partners


大胆一些!福斯特的大部分作品都有着相似的设计思路,这一点在其早期作品中表现得更加明显,而他在演讲中也提到了许多主题,例如横穿整个伦敦的无人驾驶救护车。然而,在建筑中放开胆子是一件相对困难的事情,因为每个项目都受到多重约束。但是有时候往往是那些看上去疯狂的理念在后期总是备受赞赏。有时,似乎违背常理的创新能够对建筑产生积极的影响,也正如George Bernard Shaw所说:


4. Bold solutions
Be bold. Most of Foster’s work, in particular his earlier projects, is experimental in one way or another, and so were a lot of the topics brought up in his lecture (ambulance drones to be used all across London, for example). To be bold in architecture is difficult, as the hundreds of constraints and regulations try their best to maintain a palatable level of status quo. However, it is often in seemingly crazy ideas that change is facilitated. Creating something new—even if it means swimming against the tide—is critical for positive change within architecture, and as George Bernard Shaw once said:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”


© Flickr user martinrp licensed under licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0


建筑先驱巴克敏斯特•富勒(Buckminster Fuller)是福斯特的老师,在1971年,他们进行了首次合作。福斯特后来常常会引用他与富勒的对话,并且以此来表达其设计思路和解决策略。福勒曾经说过“以少做多”,这句话对后来的项目息息相关,即运用有效的科技策略(少)来将成果最大化(多)。后来的几何穹顶、Dymaxion住宅等项目中,我们都能感受到建筑师通过简单的技术策略来解决我们当前所面临的可持续问题,也减少了建筑对于全球有限能源的依赖,这在Bloomburg欧洲新总部大楼项目中体现得淋漓尽致。你可以将这些策略运用于项目之中,将成果最大化,同时为人们的基本需求留出空间。如果你想要了解更多福斯特在建筑之外的生活,可以浏览其Instagram来进行更多地了解。

5. “Doing more with less”
Buckminster Fuller was the mentor of Norman Foster, the pair first working with each other on a project in Oxford, 1971. Foster frequently referred back to conversations he had with "Bucky," using him as a touchstone in what he was trying to achieve and how he wanted to achieve it. The famous Fuller quote “doing more with less” is usually attributed to the performance of a project: using technological advancements in order to create a more efficient input (less) with a larger output (more). This is seen first hand in his geodesic dome, and later the Dymaxion House, and the relatively simple mantra mimics the sustainable agenda we face, reducing global reliance on finite supplies, something Foster addressed in the new Bloomburg European HQ. You can also apply this to the time you spend at work, maximizing output and leaving space to live—something essential for general well-being. And if you ever need any tips for how to live outside of architecture, a quick browse of Norman Foster’s personal Instagram account will provide plenty of ideas.


© Wikimedia user Philipp Hienstorfer licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


Courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center


Courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center


Courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center


Courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center


Courtesy of Norman Foster Foundation





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