Norman Foster is celebrated for pioneering innovative and sustainable architecture using appropriate technology. Playing a vital role in defining the architectural aesthetic of ‘supermodernity’, Foster has spent his career working extending principles of sustainable design, such as those promoted by the Sarasota School of Architecture, onto a mega-sized urban scale, creating a blueprint for ethically expanding skylines. Foster’s buildings represent revolutionary propositions in how urban life can be organized and facilitated.
One of his earliest major commissions was the Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters in Ipswich, England (1975)—a modular open-plan design responding to the clients desire to restore a sense of community in the workplace, long before open-plan offices became the norm. In 1991 he designed London’s Stansted Airport, where he inverted the traditional terminal layouts by placing all services underground, instead of the roof, thus maximizing natural lighting; the building was awarded the Mies Van Der Rohe Award and is recognized as a landmark of High Tech architecture. The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong, completed in 1986, represents a further development in the harnessing of natural light for energy efficiency, with a bank of giant mirrors placed at the top of the atrium, reflecting sunlight which fills all 47 floors of the building. 30 St Mary Axe, more commonly referred to as ‘The Gherkin’, completed in 2004, employs gaps in each floor to create six shafts that serve as a natural ventilation system for the entire building, allowing it to use only half the power a skyscraper of its scale typically would.
Credit Vogue l Manolo Yllera
Philip Hiss understood good design to be integrated into and shaped by a larger set of values and practices that came to define the Sarasota School of Architecture. These guiding principles include design that is:
- Adapted to its natural environment and responsive to its socio-cultural context;
- Experimental, innovative, and transformative;
- Informed by and promoting democratic ideals and the civic responsibility of design such as accessibility and responsibility for people and communities of all backgrounds and abilities.
The Hiss Award is bestowed annually to an architect, landscape architect, designer, individual, or organization whose process and work embody one or more of these principles.