The official opening ceremony for the ‘Foster + Partners: Architecture, Urbanism, Innovation’ exhibition was held today at the Sky Gallery, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. On display from 1 January 2016 to 14 February 2016, the touring exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the work of Foster + Partners in Japan. Highlighting the incredible diversity of the practice’s work, it showcases Foster’s early collaboration with Buckminster Fuller in the 1970-80s, and looks through five decades of the practice’s work focussing on the integrated approach to design and engineering, while also reviewing some of the latest projects including a 3D-printed habitat on Mars and the Apple Campus.

Focussing on a wide range of projects, the exhibition offers visitors a unique insight into the workings of the studio and the integrated design process, in which architects and engineers work together, alongside specialists from many other disciplines, such as interiors, urban designers, environmental analysts and geometry specialists. It also explores the use of different tools – while the computer has revolutionised the way designers work, drawing and model making still play an important role.

Lord Foster, Chairman and Founder of Foster + Partners:

It is a pleasure to introduce our work in the exhibition of the Mori Art Museum. I would like to list some of the patterns that weave through our projects and have been constants since the birth of our studio nearly 50 years ago.

- A social agenda which is rooted in the belief that the quality of the design of our environment can improve the quality of our lives.

- Working with nature to reduce the energy demands of buildings and infrastructure, harvesting solar energy, using new and established technologies to do more with less.

- Pursuing innovation to reinvent such building types as airports, towers and workplaces.

- Encouraging the integration of art and architecture – of light and lightness.

- Embracing the past in regenerating historic structures with the presence of the new.

- Engaging with the city in creating and improving public spaces.

Many of these themes, especially sustainable design, are even more relevant now than they were in the past and they have the power to inform bold new initiatives for our future.

David Nelson, Senior Partner and Head of Design, Foster + Partners:

“We believe we have an ever-increasing responsibility to engage with the people who use, occupy and experience our projects. This is something we continue to focus on, through design and research. The exhibition also explores how the different teams in our studio work – and how, when it comes to design and innovation, an integrated approach sets Foster + Partners apart. This commitment to innovation, as an evolutionary process, is what allows new ideas to come to the forefront of an ever-evolving design process.”

Notes to editors:

About Mori Art Museum

Mori Art Museum opened in 2003 with the aim of becoming a pioneering international museum of contemporary art with special significance for Asia. Grounded in founder Minoru Mori’s firm belief that “culture shapes a city’s identity,” the Museum was opened symbolically on the top floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower skyscraper, a noted landmark of Tokyo. The Museum is dedicated to making contemporary art more accessible to all people through a variety of initiatives. For instance, it remains open daily (except Tuesdays) until 10 p.m. during exhibition periods, enabling students and office workers to visit on weeknights after school or work. Now, visitors arriving after 5 p.m. account for 30% of the Museum’s total visitors, which reflects the success of the Museum’s creation and promotion of a new lifestyle. To date, Mori Art Museum has attracted 14 million people from around the world, further enhancing its global status as a preeminent museum for contemporary art.

Read the Mori Art Museum press release

About Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners, one of the most innovative architectural practices in the world today, is based in London with offices worldwide. Over the past five decades the practice has pioneered a sustainable approach to architecture and ecology through a strikingly wide range of work, from urban masterplans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and furniture, working from the scale of an entire city masterplan to a door handle. The studio has established an international reputation with buildings such as the world’s largest airport terminal at Beijing, Swiss Re’s London Headquarters, Hearst Headquarters in New York, Millau Viaduct in France, the German Parliament in the Reichstag, Berlin, The Great Court at London’s British Museum, Headquarters’ for HSBC in Hong Kong and London, and Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt. There is also a strong interest in city planning and infrastructure. The practice has received over 700 awards for excellence and won over 140 national and international competitions since its inception in 1967.

About the exhibition

  • “Architecture, Urbanism, Innovation” is the first exhibition in Japan to comprehensively survey Foster + Partners’ design activities over the last half century by presenting models, videos, photographs, plans and sketches centred on some 50 representative projects.
  • It is divided into three sections:
    • The Architectural Philosophy behind Foster + Partners: looking at some of the joint projects undertaken by Norman Foster and Buckminster Fuller during the early years.
    • From Space to Environment – the Foster + Partners Design Process: through investigative to completed models, videos, photographs and sketches, this section gives a sense of the dynamism of the design process at Foster + Partners.
    • Architecture, Urbanism, Innovation – ideas for Future Lifestyles: this section introduces the latest cutting-edge work that looks toward to future that is being carried out at Foster + Partners.
  • The exhibition is being held at the Sky Gallery, the exhibition space inside the Roppongi Hills observation deck, Tokyo City View. A vast array of works including models, videos and furniture will be displayed against a backdrop of magnificent panoramic views of Tokyo.
  • For more information and the detailed programme of events visit Mori Art Museum 


Exhibition team

Foster + Partners: Spencer de Grey, Katy Harris, Philip Morris, Tony Miki, Mrinal Rammohan, Ryan Trimmer

Mori Art Museum: Takahide Tsuchiya, Naotake Maeda, Mina Takahshi, Fumiaki Kobayashi, Mimi Nakajima, Miho Tagomori

With assistance from: Souhei Imamura, Yousuke Komiyama

Corporate sponsors: Obayashi Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Permasteelisa Group, Toyota Motor Corporation, Fujitec Co., Ltd., Haseman Co., Ltd., Irie Miyake Architects & Engineers, Kajima Corporation,

Kandenko Co.,Ltd., Kenchiku Setsubi Sekkei Kenkyusho, Kume Sekkei Co., Ltd.,  Kyudenko Corporation, Miwa Lock Co.,Ltd., Nihon Sekkei, Inc., Sanken Setsubi Kogyo Co., Ltd., Sanki Engineering Co., Ltd., Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Yamashita Sekkei Inc., Kinden Corporation, Komaihaltec Inc., Shinryo Corporation

Production Support: inter. office ltd., Color Kinetics Japan Inc., Takamura Co., Ltd., Imamura Laboratory, Chiba Institute of Technology

Support: Suntory Beer Limited

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