Norman Foster was born in Manchester, England in 1939. Foster’s home life was stable,albeit humble. Norman was neither an exceptional nor a challenged student, doing wellbut not passing all of his subjects in the general Certificate Examination. Foster believesthat he did not think of himself as bright. He however did show, however, a great interestfor model construction sets and motors. This fascination with working machines and thedetails of assembling models continues to show itself in his current fascination withairplanes and gliders.
During the last year of grammar school, Foster nurtured a growing interest in the publiclibrary. Here, Foster discovered the philosophy of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. In furtherbrowsing, Foster happened upon two influential books, Le Corbusier’s
Towards a New Architecture
and Henry Russell Hitchcock’s
In the Nature of Materials
. These bookswere powerful for Foster and as his first exposures to architecture, shaped the method bywhich Foster perceived materials and design.Foster eventually made his way to Manchester University in 1957 where he studiedarchitecture as an undergraduate for four years. At the end of these studies, Fosterreceived a Henry Fellowship to continue his architectural studies in the United States atYale. In graduate work, Foster would study under Rudolph and notables like PhillipJohnson and Vincent Sully. Foster would later become close friends with another Britishstudent, Richard Rogers.Norman’s friendships paid off as he traveled back to London to create a partnershipcalled Team 4—one of the partners was Richard Rogers. In this group there was only onecertified architect: Georgie Wolton.