The film traces the rise of one of the world's premier architects, Lord Norman Foster and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design. Portrayed are Foster's origins and how his dreams and influences inspired the design of emblematic projects such as the largest building in the world Beijing Airport, the Reichstag, the Hearst Building in New York and works such as the tallest bridge ever in Millau France. In the very near future, the majority of mankind will abandon the countryside and live entirely in cities. Foster offers some striking solutions to the problems that this historic event will create.
"Our buildings have always been driven by a belief that the quality of our surroundings directly influences the quality of our lives, whether in the workplace, at home or in the public spaces that make up our cities.
This emphasis on the social dimension is an acknowledgement that architecture is generated by people’s needs, both spiritual and material. Allied to this is a willingness to challenge accepted responses or solutions.
Looking back I can see that our practice has been inspired by the polarities of analysis and action. This means trying to ask the right questions, allied with an insatiable curiosity about how things work – whether they are organisations or mechanical systems. And it means never taking anything for granted, always trying to probe deeper.
This is due in part to a fascination with inquiry, with going back to first principles to identify whether there is an opportunity to invent, or re-invent, a solution. "
Lord Norman Foster 2003 in Architecture and Sustainability