Talk:Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank

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Foster Associates[edit]

At the moment, Wikipedia seems to consider Norman Foster as synonymous with Foster Associates (or Foster and Partners, it looks like the name has changed). I'm as guilty as the rest, having just added the Stirling Prize details to this page. However, I understand that there are several other significant architects who are part of the architectural practice who may have had more input on some of the buildings listed here.

It would be good to write the article on Foster Associates and straighten out some of the attributions. -- Solipsist 07:52, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Splitting Foster Associates out from Norman Foster is an excellent, and indeed overdue, idea. I don't think, however, that you'll get much traction on attributions beyond that - it's pretty common knowledge that a bunch of Foster's most famous recent buildings, including the London Town Hall and The Gherkin, were largely designed by Ken Shuttleworth - but Foster Associates don't credit individuals, or say who did what proportion of a project. - John Fader
OK, done. Its at Foster and Partners and if anyone can improve it, please be bold. Now we need an article on Ken Shuttleworth. -- Solipsist 08:54, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

who really does the work?[edit]

Is it really Norman Foster who designs all the works? I guess nowadays, it's mostly his team/company that does all the important fundamental work (statics, function, technique etc.), with Foster only being the persons that makes up the look. --Abdull 21:43, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

see Foster_and_Partners#Senior_partners. -- Solipsist 21:49, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Why was the image of the Reichstag changed back to Image:Reichstag mit Wiese.jpg. I've noting against that picture and it is a fine illustration of the Reichstag, but it is a poor illustration of the work of Norman Foster. It mostly shows the 19th century Neo-Palladian facade of Paul Wallot. No doubt there are a lot of internal changes too, but yes the principle contribution by Norman Foster and Foster and Partners would be the dome. As such Image:Reichstag-rooftop.JPG or Image:Reichstag coupole.jpg are the more appropriate illustrations here. Not to mention the fact that geometrically faceted, curved glass structures such as the new roof on the British Museum, are pretty much the signature of Foster and Partners. -- Solipsist 13:13, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Normally, I'd agree with you -- we should focus on what he created, but additions to old buildings are special cases, and especially so in this case. The proposed picture takes Foster's addition completely out of context. Yes, it is important to show the fine details of the dome, but the new picture can't see the forest for the trees. Flip between the pages and tell me which one shows the work of a master? Yes, you are right: The old picture shows the columned architecture that Foster did not create. But it should. Foster revered it in the design process. The reason the Dome succeeds is in context, its position in the forest, -- as the symbol of a new, transparent German government that invites public inspection, a glass lens set atop the seat of power -- less important are the facets, geometry, and glass of the dome itself -- that is, the individual tree in the forest. In this sense, the old picture reflected why the dome succeeds better than the proposed pic, which isolates it and diminishes its value. The proposed pic is very good. I would not object to you putting it in if you insist, but I think its a poor choice for the reasons I listed above. --Muchosucko 13:57, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
One could argue that the dome picture lacks adequate context, whereas the overall picture lacks sufficient Foster content. So perhaps both are unsuitable as depictions of Foster's work. Showing both (on the Reichstag page) makes sense, but one without the other is a bit misleading. Although the Reichstag project was an important project for Foster, so are many of his other works too. Can I suggest we replace the Reichstag picture with Image:British Museum New Great Court.jpg, which shows similar work (modern renovations to an older building) but I think shows the synergy between the two (which neither of the Reichstag pictures do). And it's a nicer picture to boot. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 14:12, August 19, 2005 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind. It is one of the best pics I've seen on Wikipedia. Though, again, I would not object to Solip's replacing the pic either, I just think it has its costs. 'Tis all.--Muchosucko 20:48, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
I was also wondering about a complete switch to a different building as a solution. The British Museum roof is quite a good example, although it would be a shame to replace an international project with a British one. Unfortunately it looks like we don't have any particularly good pictures of Chek Lap Kok airport. -- Solipsist 08:40, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Oh, hows about this: we add a gallery tag at the bottom, and add every Foster picture we have (including both reichstags). We move Clyde Auditorium there, and replace it with Image:Millau Bridge over Tarn River France.jpg. We also have Image:British Museum New Great Court.jpg as a full size picture. That way we have a big pic of typical Foster (the gherkin), an old/new fusion (Brit museum), and a non-british thing (Millau). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 09:44, August 20, 2005 (UTC)
Sounds like a plan. The current picture layout isn't that great in any case. -- Solipsist 12:16, 20 August 2005 (UTC)


Why aren't the links under 'projects' to pages that actually describe the particular building? I can understand that 'Beijing Capital International Airport International Terminal, China (2007)' links to Beijing Capital International Airport rather than a page devoted to the terminal itself, but having the word 'library' in 'Library of the Philological Faculty at Free University of Berlin, Germany (2005)' link to the generic definition of a library? Some of the projects don't even have links. RomanSanders 21:33, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Text for "Gherkin" Picture[edit]

A minor point, but the text - in both this page and the Wikimedia description - accompanying the picture of 30 St Mary Axe, says we are looking at the pinnacle, or top of the building. The photograph is in fact taken from ground level, and shows the ENTIRE building from that perspective. The true pinnacle - a rounded cone of clear glass - is not actually visible in this picture. I have corrected this.

Name in infobox[edit]

I think the name in the infobox should be "Normal Foster" as that's how he's known professionally as an architect. However, "The Lord Foster" is simply incorrect as his correct title is "The Lord Foster of Thames Bank" – the former would refer to someone else. If anyone decides to change it again, please at least use his correct title! JRawle (Talk) 21:39, 22 December 2006 (UTC)


The online Who's Who gives NF's birthplace as Reddish, Stockport, not Levenshulme, Manchester as in the article (the two places are adjacent). Is there a strong reason for the Levenshulme entry? Mr Stephen 00:16, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Lord Foster was undoubtedly born in Reddish, Stockport, yet it keeps being changed (as it was again today) to Manchester -- presumably because this delivers more urban "cred" than Reddish. We should insist on the accurate birthplace. Jackhughes (talk) 19:55, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus to move Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames BankNorman Foster and moved Norman FosterNorman Foster (disambiguation). There seems to be consensus that this subject is the primary topic and that Norman Foster should redirect here, but not to move this article to Norman Foster. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 06:43, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

– There's a couple of things. Firstly, the architect is by far the most well known of those listed on the dab page, both in terms of page views (he has far more views than all the others combined - in July 11 he got 13093 views, the others 1694 combined of which Norman Foster (director) accounted for 1005. Incidentally, the dab page got 5432 views that month so even assuming all the views of the other pages were from the dab page that still means 3738 people had to go through the dab page to get to the article they wanted), incoming links, and google searches. In terms of primary topic Norman Foster should therefore go to the architect.

The next question is that of the title of the page. Here the guideline is WP:NCPEER. In reviewing the google searches I got 10 times as many results for "norman foster" than lord "norman foster". I believe that he is almost exclusively known by his personal name, so should be moved in accordance with the guideline.

Incidentally, I do see in the logs some page moves, but I cannot see any related discussion to them. Polequant (talk) 12:04, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Support per above arguments. Was on my todo list since some time, so thanks for the nomination. --Elekhh (talk) 12:34, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Polequant gives a good explanation of why this Norman Foster is the primary topic and he is far more commonly known by his personal name than as Lord Foster (4,400 gnews results for "Norman Foster" architect, compared to 1,620 for "Lord Foster"). Jenks24 (talk) 14:26, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I don't quite understand why so many lords' articles here are tagged with the whole 9-yards of officialdom. It's true that he's generally known as 'the architect Norman Foster', or simply 'Norman Foster' and only the extremely ceremonial ever refer to him as "Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank". --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:17, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Now normally known as Lord Foster. Kittybrewster 11:37, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The google queries proposed by nominator aren't really the right way to look at this issue. But the disambiguation page argument is persuasive. There is a reason why we title peerage articles according to a specialized convention, and there is no reason to deviate from that here. I think we should have this:
Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank - article about Lord Foster, the architect
Norman Foster - redirect to the above
Norman Foster (disambiguation) - linked to from the above
In this way we fix the disambiguation problem without needlessly breaking the convention on peerage articles.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:00, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I agree with Jimbo that we should not break the convention on peerage articles. His proposals sounds like the way to go for me. --SMasters (talk) 08:25, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Surely he's always known as Lord Foster, and doesn't this look better than causing a disambiguation page. Most pages for peers are entitled this way and this ought to be consistent. --Counter-revolutionary (talk) 09:10, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Info He calls himself Norman Foster, critics call him Norman Foster, all books about him are titled Norman Foster. The five principles of naming articles are (1) Recognisability, (2) Naturalness, (3) Precision, (4) Conciseness and (5) Consistency. The "Baron Foster of Thames Bank" version IMO fails severely (2) and (4) while on principles (1) and (3) arguably "Norman Foster (architect)" would also be better. Is standardisation really more important than everything else? --Elekhh (talk) 09:13, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Apparently, not quite true. – SMasters (talk) 10:00, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Ah, you can produce 200,000 links with "Lord" so what, I can find 2,000,000 google hits without it. The difference in my links is that they are the more relevant ones. --Elekhh (talk) 11:11, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
It's not about me finding a million Google hits. Your links are not the best examples to illustrate your points. For instance, the example of what "he calls himself" is from his own company's website, and yet, I found another example from the very same website, which uses his title. You then provide one example that his peers do not call him by his title, and yet, one can easily find examples to the contrary. That's the point I'm trying to make. --SMasters (talk) 23:42, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Of course if a press release from 2004 is more relevant than the current main page of his own website, an online journal more than one of the most prestigious international architecture awards, and books as authoritative sources are dismissed than you are right. That's the point I'm trying to make. Also let's not forget that we are debating the best title for the article, and the examples I linked to are the most relevant for that. Your second link also chooses "Norman Foster" as title, so it actually is in support of my argument. The only example of significant relevance for "Lord" as article title you linked to is the University of Oxford site, but than again why this archaically pompous "Baron Foster of Thames Bank" and not Professor Lord? --Elekhh (talk) 00:43, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. He is not "almost exclusively known" without his peerage, which is what the naming conventions require to trump this title (which is the default form for peers). He is often referred to by it, particularly in the British press. And the test isn't simply "which is more common?". I do agree with Jimbo that Norman Foster should redirect here. Proteus (Talk) 12:43, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
    • So the guidelines have too be applied ad literam, the recommendation "it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply" be dismissed, and the policy not worth discussing. Otherwise regarding disambiguation, for the record I also agree that per WP:PRIMARYTOPIC "Norman Foster" should lead to this article. --Elekhh (talk) 13:25, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
      • Are you saying that the guidelines support your argument (i.e. that he is almost exclusively known without his peerage), or that they don't but that we should ignore them (either in the interests of common sense or because this article should be an exception)? If, contrary to the impression I got from your earlier comments, it is the latter, then I think it's for you to say why this should be an exception rather than for me to say why it shouldn't. Proteus (Talk) 13:57, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
        • I think I was pretty clear: if the guidelines aim to implement the principles, but following the guidelines actually contravenes the principles than we have a good case to make an exception to the guidelines and follow the principles. This is actually encouraged by the guidelines by stating that "though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply" and "It is generally advisable to use the most common form of the name used in reliable sources in English ". The point I was making above is that all who favour "Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank" rely on the principle of wikipedia naming consistency / standardisation set out in the guidelines to the detriment of the other principles, in particular naturalness and conciseness but also recognisability and preciseness where Norman Foster (architect) would be better. Another argument for an exception is that his notability is almost exclusively due to him being an architect, and has almost nothing to do with him being now part of "British nobility". --Elekhh (talk) 00:43, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
          • As far as I can see, they're all general points that apply (or could apply) to many people to whom this guideline refers, which means that your issue is not really with this article title but which the guideline that recommends it. This isn't the right place to argue that the guideline is wrong. Proteus (Talk) 15:23, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. I am not proposing any move in opposition to the guideline WP:NCPEER, rather in accordance with it. Taking the last two years as an example, "Norman Foster" receives 2360 gnews results, "Lord Foster" 53, and "Lord Norman Foster" 78. That means the non-peerage title is used 95% of the time. This is a higher ratio than Bertrand Russell, which is used as an example in the guideline of when the full title should not be used. From reading into the background of this the main reason for NCPEER appears to be for hereditary peers where there end up being lots of people with the same name and title, so better disambiguation is required. This is not the case here, as he is the clear primary topic of the term "Norman Foster" (as seems to have been acknowledged by everyone contributing). I am a bit confused by those saying he is now always or normally known as Lord Foster, when that doesn't appear to be the case at all, and they certainly have not presented any evidence to back that up.
In any case, looking back through the archives and other move discussions, it appears that NCPEER does not receive full support in the case of life peers. It probably should be discussed more fully at some point, but I guess not here. Polequant (talk) 11:41, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I think this is a case where the exception in WP:NCPEER for Peers far better known without their peerage title comes in. Foster was already a world-famous architect before he received his peerage, and he is principally known as an architect and not as a Peer. He has not encouraged use of his title in his professional architectural life. Further, as he is not domiciled in the United Kingdom for tax purposes, he ceased to be a member of the House of Lords on 6 July 2010. Sam Blacketer (talk) 14:40, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

File:Norman Foster.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Please check: "In Germany, Foster received the Order Pour le Mérite; "[edit]

["Pour le Mérite"] was a prussian military order that existed until 1918. I am pretty sure what is meant here is the ["Bundesverdienstkreuz"], but this is definitely something entirely different, the title used here in the article is never used with the civilian "Federal Cross of Merit" ( translation). I don't really know where to check what exactly he got in Germany, so I hope this is the right place for this comment. -- (talk) 00:35, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. I removed the unreferenced and erroneous statement. --ELEKHHT 06:46, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Resignation from the Lords?[edit]

Quote: As a resident of Switzerland, in 2010 he stepped down from his seat in the House of Lords in order to maintain his non-domiciled status, and so be able to avoid paying UK residents' taxes on income earned abroad. ... Foster last spoke in the Lords in 2003 before his resignation in 2010.

I'm struggling to understand this. Did he disclaim his peerage? If so, why are we still calling him Baron Foster of Thames Bank? If not, what is this "resignation" all about? -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 05:31, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Sir / Lord - style and treatment[edit]

It seems to me that by virtue of Lord Foster having previously been made a Knight Bachelor (Kt) his full name should be preceded by Sir.

As to Lord, this is a deferential treatment used generally when referring to someone who holds a title between Baronet and Marquess, in which case Lord is not really part of name or title, but merely a customary appellation, and simply good manners as it were...

So if someone would like to take a look at this and check, my impression is that Lord Foster's full name as included in this article, following wikipedia standards, should read in fact something like:

Sir Norman Robert Foster, 1st Baron Foster of Thames Bank (also known as Lord Foster)

Similarly, following wikipedia standards, the box section should perhaps also include the usual items for style and subsequent treatement, in this case applicable to Lord Foster, i.e. Your Lordship, followed by Sir.

My own personal views of Lord Foster's architecture aside... I believe we should keep to some consistency when it comes to wikipedia, not to say accuracy when spelling out people's names, honours, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 31 January 2014 (UTC)


I have started to remove some of the anecdotes and un-encyclopedic writing. Part of the problem seems to be that Foster has given so many interviews about his life that were taylored to the reporters requirements- so we get good lines about crumpets and superhero cycle rides that are good copy. We have the BBC quoting the Christian Science monitor and inevitably distortions have occurred. Please help because my writing is also flawed. -- Clem Rutter (talk) 10:39, 8 November 2014 (UTC)