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Foster + Partners wins AJ100 International Practice of the Year 2019

Norton museum exterior

The winner of this year’s International Practice of the Year is, quite simply, ‘an international success story’, according to the judges

Foster + Partners has had a stand-out year internationally, working in that sweet spot where design excellence meets business achievement. Overall, 2018 was Fosters’ most successful year ever internationally, with a 20 per cent increase in its billings by world region compared with 2017, supported by considerable growth in Asia (accounting for 31 per cent of those billings), the Middle East (24 per cent) and North America (19 per cent).  

An impressive array of international projects has recently completed, ranging from the Norton Museum of Art in Florida to residential scheme DUO Central Park in Sydney. The practice also finished many buildings for longstanding client Apple, including the Apple Park Visitor Center in California. Work completing in the next 12 months includes the Future Technology Centre in Hangzhou, China, and the Narbo Via Museum in Narbonne, France. The practice has projects under construction in 62 cities around the world and its masterplanning work goes from strength to strength. 

Comcast lobby

Comcast lobby

Comcast Innovation Centre, Philadelphia, by Foster + Partners

In 2018 Fosters opened five key international offices, including ones in Shenzhen and Singapore. It is also prioritising new technology to promote its global working and international connectedness, with tools such as codeBOX, its collaborative tools repository, which allows every Fosters employee to contribute and download useful design tools and components developed for the office. 

‘Foster + Partners has, with exceptional consistency, defined the highest standards of professional practice in a world of rapid and complex change,’ one judge noted. ‘Operating as a synthetic and diverse design and research ecology, its work spans the honing of fine detail to the evolution of policies and tools.’

Another judge added: ‘Fosters has significantly strengthened its worldwide practice in several ways: introducing a process of integrated thinking to share design expertise across its offices; applying a proprietary carbon-footprint calculator to all projects on a global basis; sharing its research on global warming across continents; and opening Apple Park in California, setting a benchmark for corporate world headquarters and design thinking.’

As Brexit uncertainty continues, Foster + Partners is lobbying for a second referendum and, not surprisingly, aims to remain a global practice. Judging by its many achievements of the past year and the scale of its upcoming work, the Foster international success story looks set to continue. 

Shortlisted

  • Corstorphine + Wright
  • Weston Williamson + Partners
  • WilkinsonEyre
  • Zaha Hadid Architects

Judges

  • Neil Deely, co-founder and partner, Metropolitan Workshop
  • Larry Malcic, senior vice president, senior design principal, HOK
  • Bob Sheil, director, The Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Sam Yousif, founding partner, Pilbrow & Partners
  • Emily Booth, editor, The Architects’ Journal

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