Dsg: What was your biggest highlight?
JN: My biggest highlight was the opportunity to interact with Lord Norman Foster. It was incredibly inspiring that despite his age (84) and accomplishments, he was a wonderfully inquisitive and humble person.
He shared the importance of having conversations with people beyond our profession, something that he practices himself, so as to learn from other people who might already have asked the same questions or have solutions to problems we have yet to fully comprehend.
Jonathan with Lord Norman Foster. Photo credit: Norman Foster Foundation.
In addition, despite the strong focus on technology in the Robotics Atelier and even in his practice, Lord Foster emphasised the importance of technology as a means to social ends – that its ultimately role was for society, whether it be via sustainability or enabling new forms of interaction and community.
A close second was the firsthand access to the Foundation. The NFF showcased an incredible collection of Lord Foster’s work through the years, from his early years at Team 4 to the collaborations with Buckminster Fuller and even the latest projects coming out of Fosters + Partners, such as the upcoming Apple Park in California.
I loved being able to trace how different proposals changed along with technological development through time, whilst providing inspirations of how we might solve problems in the years to come.
Finally, the opportunity to interact with the Atelier mentors, Xavier De Kestelier and Manuel Jiménez García, as well as the opportunity to engage with the other scholars, who were experts in the fields of computational design and digital fabrication.
It was a fantastic experience and opportunity to learn more about the latest cutting-edge research each of us was working on and to discuss the future of computation and digital fabrication in architecture.