Foster + Partners has always been guided by a belief that the quality of our surroundings has a direct influence on the quality of our lives, whether that is in the workplace, at home or in the public realm. Allied to that is an acknowledgement that architecture is generated by the needs of people - both material and spiritual - and a concern for the physicalcontext and the culture and climate of place. Equally, excellence of design and its successful execution are central to our approach. We believe the best architecture comes from a synthesis of all the elements that separately comprise and inform the character of a building: the structure that holds it up; the services that allow it to function; its ecology; the quality of natural light; thesymbolism of the form; the relationship of the building to the skyline or the streetscape; the way you move through or around it; and last but not least its ability to lift the spirits. This holistic approach is augmented by a strong commitment to the clients we serve, and also to the public domain and the many users involved. A high degree of personal service, coupled with respect for the preciousresources of cost and time, therefore characterises our client relationships. The scale, diversity and global reach of our new projects were unimaginable 40 years ago, yet many of the issues that excited us in the early days continue to inform what we do today. We work in the spirit of enquiry, challenging preconceptions and testing conventions. The process of ‘reinvention’ distinguishes all of ourwork – past and present – and rests on a duty to design well and to design responsibly – whether that is at the scale of an airport or a door handle. The last decades have witnessed key shifts in public attitudes to ecology and energy consumption. We have always anticipated these trends, pioneering design solutions that use totally renewable sources of energy and offer dramatic reductions in CO2emissions. Environmental awareness is an integral part of the practice’s culture as it evolves to meet the challenges of the next forty years.
The way we work
To undertake consistently, in a decade, some of the biggest projects in the world, needs depth of resources. In that sense, ‘size matters’. The practice is more than one thousand strong, with offices in twenty-two countries and ahighly talented team drawn from more than fifty nations. However, creativity and personal service are best nurtured by the compact group where ‘small is beautiful’. The resolution of these apparently conflicting ideals is mirrored in the practice’s structure.
The strategic direction of the practice is guided by the executive board. Members of this board are: Norman Foster, Mouzhan Majidi as chiefexecutive, Spencer de Grey and David Nelson as joint heads of design, Matthew Streets as chief financial officer, with Grant Brooker and Nigel Dancey as senior executives.
The practice is organised into six design groups, each with a senior partner as leader. All of these individuals have been chosen for their proven track record over many years in the practice, combining creativity andattention to detail with delivery and management skills. The group leaders are: Grant Brooker (Group 1), David Summerfield (Group 2), Mouzhan Majidi (Group 3), Stefan Behling (Group 4), Gerard Evenden (Group 5) and Nigel Dancey (Group 6). Allied with this core group is a younger generation of partners who are central to the continuing evolution of the practice.
The groups are not shaped byspecialisation of building type or geographical location. Each group has a rich cross-section of projects – large and small – around the world, which may range from an office building in London to a sustainable community in the desert. This diversity is good for creativity, innovation and motivation. The tight-knit nature of the groups also ensures personal service and close contact between the design...