Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship Established at Yale University
Pritzker-Prize laureate and Yale School of Architecture alumnus Norman Foster and his family have donated $3 million to Yale School of Architecture to fund a visiting professorship in his name, Yale University President Richard C. Levin has announced.
This permanent endowment will support a visiting professorship program each year, allowing students at Yale to be taught by leading international practitioners in the field of architecture from all over the world.
“With this generous gift, one of the School’s most distinguished graduates, Norman Foster, is allowing us to use his name to attract to the Yale faculty the most prominent architects of their times for generations to come,” said Levin.
Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, reiterated the importance of the gift: “It is a tremendous honor for our School to have the Lord Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship in Architecture, and it will be an equally significant honor for the individuals selected to fill the chair. Lord Foster is, and has always been, an outstanding role model for excellence in our profession.”
Foster said, “My time at Yale and the people I was exposed to there, in particular Paul Rudolph, Serge Chermayeff, and Vincent Scully, had an incredible impact on me. Rudolph created a studio atmosphere that was highly creative, competitive and fueled by a succession of visiting luminaries. That same ‘can-do’ approach has influenced and inspired my practice for more than forty years and continues to do so. I hope this gift will similarly inspire future generations of students. It is also a recognition of my personal gratitude to the United States and my commitment to Yale and education.”
Visiting professors in the Yale School of Architecture play an integral role in the education of tomorrow’s architects. Each term, the foremost architects and designers lead advanced studios to expose students to the latest cross-currents of ideas and ideologies in current architectural practice. Foster has established the endowed chair to add support to this longstanding and defining visiting critic system.
Foster, who earned his master of architecture degree at Yale in 1962, is one of the most important architects practicing in the world today. He is chair and founder of Foster + Partners, an international practice with project offices worldwide. One of their more recently opened offices, in New York, oversees projects throughout the United States. Over the past four decades, the practice has pioneered a sustainable approach to architecture and ecology through a wide range of work, from urban master plans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices, and workplaces to private houses and product design. He received the 21st Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1999, the RIBA & AIA Gold Medals in 1983 and 1994, respectively, and the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture in 2002. In 2009, he became the 29th laureate of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts.
Stern has announced that the first Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor will be Alejandro Zaera-Polo, theorist, architect, and co-founder of London-based Foreign Office Architects (FOA). With projects throughout North America, Europe and Asia, FOA has a world reputation for combining technical innovation with critically acclaimed design. The firm’s best-known project, the Yokohama International Port Terminal, received the RIBA Worldwide Award and the Enric Miralles Prize in 2004 and the Kanagawa Prize in 2003. The John Lewis Department Store and Cineplex in Leicester, UK, and the Meydan Retail Complex in Istanbul are two other recent FAO projects that garnered international architectural and design awards.
(October 8, 2009)