Published: 27 January, 2011
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by Norberto Lopez and Carlos Carcas
Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
HE became the man who would give our city concrete circuses on the back of the Brown boom, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, the architect whose triangular-jointed constructions appear in the world’s leading financial centres.
This bio-pic of Norman Foster is a portrait of the king and his castles, and is as polished as one of his granite floors.
The problem is it discusses Foster as an artist but avoids criticism of his works.
His journey started in Hampstead Hill Gardens, where he formed Foster and Partners in the 1960s. They laid hardboard on a double bed to use for displays.
We are then taken through his projects, with voiceover accolades as to why he is an awesome dude.
Some of the questions asked include, why are we making the planet uninhabitable? The answer is not forthcoming. And you can’t help but think that some of Foster’s grandiose projects – such as the Hong Kong HSBC headquarters – is the reason for this sidestep.
It’s all good for the Foster team to discuss how in the desert they are building an eco-friendly city, but we also watch them boast about the roofs of the world’s largest airport.
It appears that as well as being the answer, the architect is part of the problem: his practice needs big commissions, and this is a vainglorious yearning. It would be nicer if Foster was more Leveller-like. Yet he is an intriguing person – his practice has made buildings that celebrate ingenuity.
It’s a shame this film doesn’t make you like him more – its fawning works in the opposite direction.