the norman foster foundation, which officially inaugurated its madrid headquarters earlier this month, has opened a new courtyard pavilion designed to host events and exhibitions. the venue displays objects and images that have served as personal references for foster, who is widely regarded as one of the most significant architects of the last 40 years. the flexible space is also able to host talks and discussions, and features a façade that can open to the adjacent courtyard for outdoor events.

all images © guillermo rodríguez / video courtesy of norman foster foundation



the norman foster foundation’s new building is topped with a roof shaped like the wing of an aircraft, a gesture that resolves the site’s irregular geometry. the roof is supported by a hidden steel structure cantilevered over the structural glass façade, resulting in a ceiling that appears to levitate above visitors’ heads. above the courtyard itself, a canopy created by spanish artist cristina iglesias frames selected views and casts a pattern of dappled light. 

‘the ionosphere’ (a place of silent storms), is composed of interlocking light carbon fiber panels



the glass panel that leads to the courtyard takes the form of a massive door that weighs 2.7 tons and measures 6 meters in length. thanks to its prefabricated elements, the pavilion was realized in just six months. from an environmental standpoint the building’s glass envelope boasts high thermal performance, while radiant heating and cooling is transmitted via the floor. the pavilion’s architects are a design studio from the foundation itself — not from foster’s london-based office — who sought to collaborate with local workers and materials.

the glass panel that leads to the courtyard takes the form of a massive door



the pavilion’s contents comprise a selection of objects, models, photography and sculpture from the worlds of art, architecture and design — with a particular emphasis on aircraft, cars, and locomotives. taking center stage in the collection is the newly restored, original 1927 avions voisin C7. the car, which was previously owned by le corbusier, used aviation technology pioneered by voisin for his flying machines and is being displayed for the first time.

the pavilion’s contents comprise a selection of objects, models, and photography

the newly restored, original 1927 avions voisin C7 car forms part of the collection

thanks to its prefabricated elements, the pavilion was realized in just six months

the venue displays pieces that have served as personal references for foster



time-lapse video documenting the pavilion’s construction / video courtesy of norman foster foundation

the courtyard pavilion has been designed to host events and exhibitions

the foundation building viewed from the passing street




project info:


architect: design studio of the norman foster foundation —
norman foster, david delgado, raúl gómez, and jorge lópez
local collaborating architect: miguel kreisler, ángel jaramillo  – BAUproyectos SLP – spain
structural engineer: juan de la torre – euteca proyectos y estructuras SLP – spain
MEP engineer: rafael úrculo – r. urculo ingenieros consultores SA – spain
quantity surveyor: javier martín – arquitec SL spain


façade consultant: james o’callaghan – eckersley o’callaghan ltd – UK
envelope consultant: ENAR envolventes arquitectónicas SL – spain
lighting consultant: años luz iluminación de vanguardia SL – javier martín – spain


builder: empty SL and BAUobras SL – spain
structure contractor: betazul SA – spain
glass manufacturer: sedak GmbH & co. KG – germany
façade engineering & manufacture: frener & reifer srl – italy
roofing: carbures defense SA – spain
roof nosing: realize srl – italy
stainless steel ceiling: kikukawa kogyo co ltd – japan
technological terrazzo: marmol compac SAU – spain
glass vitrine: crisel glass SL, nerpaser SL – spain
site surveyor: enrique cuartero – sumarsan SL – spain
topography surveyor: pedro magaña – asistencia y recursos topográficos SL – spain


cristina iglesias’ sculpture
engineering consultant: hugo corres – fhecor ingenieros consultores SA – spain
wind engineering: consultant: oritia & boreas SL – spain
sculpture panels: manufactured by acciona SA – spain
sculpture cables and nodes: manufactured by acciona SA – spain











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