Having a voice is one thing. Making sure it is heard is an altogether trickier business, even if you are a world-renowned architect responsible for some of the most iconic buildings across the globe. This is because none of that makes a difference, says Lord Norman Foster, when developers don’t listen to what you say.
For years the architect behind the Gherkin and Wembley Stadium has been lobbying for a more cohesive approach to project delivery. But now he says the catalyst for change could come down to the emergence of a new, informed breed of occupier: the entrepreneurs. These are the people he credits with driving progress. Not just through their business innovations, but through their take on design and construction.
“Enlightened individuals” – including the late Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, with whom Foster worked closely on the early stages of the design of the new $5bn Apple Park HQ in California – have shaken up the traditional role of the client and are giving developers a run for their money.
The result, says Foster, could be a reshuffle of the pecking order of the players involved in the life cycle of a project, with global organisations setting the agenda…