Press Release: Address By Renowned Architect Norman Foster Keynotes Two-Day Event

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Renowned architect Lord Norman Foster, the Pritzker Prize winner whose numerous iconic projects include Germany’s Reichstag, London’s Millennium Bridge, and the world’s largest airport terminal (Beijing), on Thursday, November 5, will keynote a two-day conference marking the one-year anniversary of Harvard’s Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) at the university’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), Professor Ali Malkawi, the Center’s Founding Director announced.

Prof. Malkawi, whose Center has achieved considerable success in advancing its interdisciplinary, energy efficiency research mission in its first year of operation, noted that Lord Foster’s much-anticipated keynote would be followed on November 6 by a half-day seminar on ‘Sustainability in Scandinavia’ (Piper Auditorium).

“We are honored to recognize and celebrate our first year by not only hosting Lord Foster, founder of the firm Foster + Partners and one of the most influential figures in modern architectural design and urban master planning,” explained Prof. Malkawi, “but also focusing with the help of leading practitioners and scholars on the innovative, integrated sustainability efforts underway in Scandinavia.”

Underscoring the importance of Lord Foster’s presentation and contributions to global design and scholarship, Prof. Malkawi noted that Foster + Partners has pioneered a transformative design approach driven by sustainability over several decades. His practice, which has earned over 700 prestigious awards for design excellence, is distinguished for its deftness at integrating advanced technology with cultural and environmental concerns. London’s Great Court at the British Museum and the stunning steel-and-glass 30 St. Mary Axe building (aka the Gherkin), the Hearst Tower in Manhattan, and Wembley Stadium are among the firm’s timeless designs and initiatives. Some of its concepts are literally out of this world; notably work for the European Space Agency’s lunar habitation project and design studies for NASA’s Mars exploration environment.

Lord Foster, honored to be the first keynote in what will become an annual event for the Center, said: “Issues of consuming, conserving, and harvesting energy affect the design of buildings and the infrastructure of transport and public spaces that bind them together. Cities are a fusion of these individual structures and the collective systems that move people and goods between them. These two entities when combined amount for around three quarters of the energy consumed in an industrialized society and it is this relationship that holds the key to a sustainable future.” He noted that almost 70% of the global population will be urbanized by 2050.

Prof. Malkawi, a foremost authority on high-performance, energy-efficient buildings, and a professor of architectural technology in addition to directing the Center, added, “from our evolving –eventually a net- zero energy structure— living laboratory headquarters in a 1925 residence at 20 Sumner Road in Cambridge, we are informing sustainable design strategies—from infrastructure to building systems, engineering to design—so it is fitting that Lord Foster is our first keynote speaker and that we are focusing on exciting projects underway in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.”

The Scandinavian-focused event will feature principal architects from firms Snohetta, Helen & Hard, Element Architects, Christensen & Co., Mikkelsen Group, Vandkunsten, White Arkitikter, and City Architects of Stockholm, and introductions from leading academicians Marius Nygaard (Norway), Anne Beim (Denmark), and Erik Stenberg (Sweden) who will offer perspective and ground the projects in a larger discussion. “Scandinavia has a unique regional practice that integrates technology, culture, and design,” said Prof. Malkawi. “We will highlight how they’ve pushed the limits of this approach to define and pioneer the cutting edge.”

Jenna Bjorkman

Katy Harris
+44 (0)20 7738 0455

Available online here.