Manchester town hall and my local library were the buildings that shaped me

Norman Foster   /  Source:  The Guardian

Winston Churchill said: “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” The first building that shaped my future was Manchester town hall, where I started work at the age of 16. The Victorian-Gothic architecture was magnificent – it impressed me then and still moves my spirits today. I spent most lunch breaks wandering around buildings in the city, drawn to them for the aesthetic experience. Some were particularly inspiring – the cast-iron structure of the Barton Arcade, or the modernism of the Daily Express building.

The second was my local library, which was as domestic and homely as the town hall was heroic but, on its bookshelves, I discovered the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture. My imagination was fired by the juxtaposition of timeless buildings from the past next to the aircraft and hydroplanes of the time. Today, more than six decades later, I still find inspiration from the fusion of these different worlds... [+]

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