Norman Foster interview: HSBC headquarters was “more than just a building” | Architecture | Dezeen

In this exclusive video interview filmed as part of our high-tech series, British architect Norman Foster explains how the banking headquarters he designed in the eighties became a symbol of his global brand.

Completed in 1985, the forty-four-storey skyscraper located near the harbour in central Hong Kong, China, was instrumental in establishing Foster Associates as an international practice.

“Hong Kong bank was an extraordinary venture because it wasn’t a building that could have been built in Hong Kong,” Foster told Dezeen.

“Hong Kong then did not have the technology, the fabrication” he explained. “It was truly a component building that was shipped from America, Japan, the UK, and assembled on site.”

Since the building’s elements were manufactured in different countries around the world, the project also had Foster travelling internationally as a result, which set a precedent for the future of the practice.

“It was not just inventing a particular kind of tower that hadn’t been done before,” said Foster. “But it was also starting to reinforce and redesign [the practice] as a design organisation.”

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