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The Gherkin, London, United Kingdom

Thursday 26 Oct 2006

When is a Foster not a Foster?

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As “Celebrity” architects capitalise on their names, they may be storing up problems for their practices when they retire. 

This week it was revealed in the UK press that Lord Foster charges a premium if he is personally involved in the design of a project. The process dubbed “cash for credit” apparently involves a stipulation in the practice’s standard fee agreement that the client cannot use the name ‘Norman Foster’ in association with the building ….’ The logic being that having a building designed by Norman Foster adds value to the real estate. But not all icons subscribe to this practice, Zaha Hadid is known for being “hands-on” and her office confirmed to WAN today that “Zaha is involved with every one of our 34 current projects” This fuels both the debate about who takes credit for buildings in large firms and what will happen to their practices when the current “grandfathers of architecture” Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and the like finally retire…. Or maybe they will follow Oscar Niemeyer who still goes into his studio every day at the age of 98….

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