Norman Foster: Star architect at 80

And the award goes to...

Norman Robert Foster, Lord Foster of Thames Bank, is one of the most renowned architects of the contemporary age. Ennobled by Queen Elisabeth II., Foster is also an honorary member of the Association of German Architects, a member of the German Orden Pour le Mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste, as well as a recipient of the British Order of Merit. He also received the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

A Berlin landmark

His dome crowning the Reichstag building quickly became a new landmark of the city, and a much visited attraction by locals and tourists. Interestingly, the architect gave in to political demands as, originally, he wanted to avoid any kind of "bump" on the roof. None-the-less, the building has become an icon of reunified Berlin.

Shouting from the rooftops

Too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer! That's why a roof designed by Norman Foster was added to the courtyard of the Smithsonian Museum, one of the largest museums in Washington D.C. The wavy steel and glass structure, constructed in Germany, is a staggering 27 meters in length.

Iconic synergy

Like a giant blue cucumber, the Swiss Re Tower reaches up into the sky. The 180 meter-high skyscraper has dominated the skyline of the financial district of London since 2004. The architects Norman Foster and Ken Shuttleworth designed a structure consisting of interwoven helical strands, clad with triangular and rhomical glass elements.

Free thinking

A construction for free spirits: For the Philological Library of the Free University Berlin Foster designed a compact, multi-storey reinforced concrete building with two cores. This inner structure is enveloped by a self-supporting dome. 700,000 books from 11 different philological libraries are stored below this construction.

The transformation

Work, culture and life, past and future: Foster united apparent opposites when he presented his master plan for Duisburg in 2007. The German industrial city on the Rhine was in need of renewal. As such, Duisburg's inner harbor with its ancient mills and granaries was developed into a stunning green center on the waterfront.

Bridging sport and art

A pilgrimage site of the global game: Wembley Stadium in the London district of Brent. Foster's new construction for 90,000 spectators replaced the legendary arena of 1923. Above the soccer ground a 133-meter-high arch spans the length, and features a retractable roof. Wembley is one of the 10 largest stadiums in the world. With it, Norman Foster has created a global monument of sport.

In suspense

The Millennium Bridge in London is a passage for pedestrians over the River Thames, connecting the city center with the district of Southwark. The suspended bridge offers the best view of St. Paul's Cathedral. Due to strong vibrations, Foster's bridge needed to be renovated several times.

Old and new

An extraordinary bridge construction: The Millau Viaduct in southern France leads over the river Tarn in the direction of Barcelona. Norman Foster added an aesthetic shape to the original construction of Michel Virlogeux. Since its inauguration in 2004, the viaduct - spanning 2460 meters - is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. It is also France's tallest architectural structure.

In the spotlight

The undulating building of the Expo Pavilion in the United Arab Emirate is reminiscent of two coalescing sand dunes. The design by Foster, admired by countless enthusiastic visitors, was celebrated as an architectural milestone at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The 20-meter-long stainless steel façade reflects the sunlight during the day, infusing the building with golden light.

Point of view

London's new City Hall rises on the South bank of the Thames, between Tower Bridge and London Bridge Station. The town hall owes its bulbous shape to a desire to cut down on energy consumption. The building has been compared with the helmet of Darth Vader - as well as a dented egg. Whichever view, Foster remains one of the most talked-about and celebrated architects of his day.

British architect Norman Foster has had a significant impact on global architecture and enjoys a worldwide fan-base. The British master of integrated design celebrates his 80th birthday on June 1. Happy birthday.