Norman Foster was born in Manchester in 1935. After graduating from Manchester University School of Architecture and City Planning, in 1961 he won a Henry Fellowship to Yale University, where he gained a Master's Degree in Architecture.
He is the founder and chairman of Foster and Partners. Founded in London in 1967, it is now a worldwide practice, with project offices in more than twenty countries. Over the past four decades the company has been responsible for a strikingly wide range of work, from urban masterplans, public infrastructures, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and product design.
Foster has established an international reputation with projects as diverse as the New German Parliament in the Reichstag in Berlin, Chek Lap Kok International Airport and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong, Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Willis Faber & Dumas Head Office in Ipswich (which has been awarded 'listed building' status alongside nearby Ely Cathedral), and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich. Since its inception, the practice has received more than 400 awards and citations for excellence and has won more than 70 international and national competitions.
His current and recent work includes the largest construction projects in the world; Beijing Airport, Millau Viaduct in France, the Swiss Re Tower and the Great Court at the British Museum in London, an entire University campus for Petronas in Malaysia, the Hearst Hedquarters tower in New York, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Research Centres for Stanford University, California, the redevelopment of Dresden Railway station and a new high speed rail link in Florence.
He became the 21st Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate in 1999 and was awarded the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture in 2002. He has been awarded the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Architecture (1994), the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture (1983), and the Gold Medal of the French Academy of Architecture (1991). In 1990 he was granted a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours, and in 1999 was honoured with the Life Peerage, becoming Lord Foster of Thames Bank. He was recently presented with the inaugural World Solar Prize of 2005 by the Solar Agency Switzerland at the 15th Swiss Solar Prize Conference in Lausanne. The award citation praised the use of sustainable strategies to radically reduce the energy consumption and environmental impact. This is a shared ambition for every Foster project – regardless of the scale or complexity.
Foster has lectured throughout the world and has taught architecture in the United Kingdom and the Unites States of America. He has been Vice-President of the Architectural Association in London, Council Member of the Royal College of Art, a Member of the Board of Education and Visiting Examiner for the Royal Institute of British Architects and was a founder and trustee of the Architecture Foundation of London.