BIA Award

Norman Foster to receive the first BIA Award in Bilbao for his contribution to the urban regeneration of the city

  • The English architect, one of the most renowned internationally, designed the Metro Bilbao, the first major project to transform the capital of Bizkaia and its metropolitan area
  • The BIA platform, set up by the COAVN delegation in Bizkaia, will present him with the award in a ceremony to be held at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum on 26 September
  • Foster is known for his iconic projects around the world and his work has been distinguished with the top prestigious architecture awards in the international arena

Norman Foster, one of the best-known and most prestigious names in contemporary architecture, will be in Bilbao on 26 September to collect the BIA (Bilbao Bizkaia Architecture) Award, given in recognition to those people who have contributed to the development of Bizkaia’s society through architecture and urban regeneration. The prize-giving ceremony will be held at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.

It is the first of an award will be held biennially, established by the BIA initiative, which was set up by the Bizkaia Delegation of the Basque-Navarre Institute of Architects (COAVN) and its newly formed organization, Bilbao Bizkaia Architecture (BIA).It reflects the commitment to the revival of architecture and urban development in this province, where the emphasis in on addressing the challenges of the professions from concepts such as internationalisation, exchange or citizen participation.

Apart from being a reflection forum, BIA is the driving force behind different activities, including the first convening of this award or the holding, likewise in September, of the first “Urban Regeneration Forum” and which will gather around 300 international experts in Bilbao during a week.

The I BIA Award, which is backed and sponsored by Bilbao City Council, among other associates, will be presented on the 26 September, during a ceremony to be held in the atrium of the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum and which will be attended by authorities and representatives of Bizkaia society.

Profile and career

Norman Foster, Lord Foster of Thames Bank, (Manchester, 1935) is one of the most prestigious contemporary architects on the international scene.The awards for his work include the Mies van der Roche Contemporary Architecture Award in 1990, the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1994, the Pritzker in 1999 and the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 2009. He studied architecture at Manchester University, followed by time at Yale University.When he returned to England he set up Team 4 in1964 and t hen three years later in 1967, he founded Foster Associates where he collaborated with the architect Richard Buckminster Fuller. The practice is now known as Foster + Partners.

His early projects were known for a very distinct “high-tech” style, although the lines of his buildings would later soften. His work has a clear industrial hallmark, where he uses elements that are repeated many times, and he often designs ex profeso components for a building. Over four decades, Foster has built up an extremely prolific career, with projects in countries on five continents.

Known in the Basque Country for his original design of the Metro Bilbao stations, Foster has designed other projects in Spain, including the Bankia Tower in Madrid and the Valencia Conference Centre.His best known work internationally includes the remodelling of the British Museum and Wembley Stadium in London, along with Stansted Airport, the Millennium Bridge, the ‘Gherkin’ and City Hall, also in the English capital. The refurbishment of the Reichstag building in Berlin and the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt are two of his best known projects in Germany, while in the USA, he designed the Hearst Tower in New York, the Joslyn Museum Addition in Omaha (Nebraska) and the Museum of Fine Art Boston. Foster has also designed iconic buildings such as the Hongkong Bank in Hong Kong and Beijing International Airport.