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City of London pays tribute to Norman Foster

Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM will receive the Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall on Monday 24 April, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to contemporary architecture.

Manchester-born Foster, widely regarded as one of the most distinguished architects of his generation, is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners. Over the past five decades, he has designed some of the world’s most iconic buildings and offices, as well as private houses and furniture. They include the Reichstag (Berlin), Hearst Tower (New York), Spaceport America (New Mexico), Commerzbank Tower (Frankfurt) and The Bow (Calgary); and in London, Wembley Stadium, The Great Court at the British Museum, City Hall, Millennium Bridge, and 30 St Mary Axe (‘The Gherkin’).

His numerous awards include the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture; the Gold Medal for the French Academy of Architecture in 1991; the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal; Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in France; and the Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. He was knighted in 1990, appointed to the Order of Merit in 1997, and honoured with a life peerage in 1999.

Lord Foster’s Freedom ceremony will begin with him reading aloud the Declaration of a Freeman and end with him being greeted by Dr Peter Kane, Chamberlain of London, as a ‘Citizen of London’ and the presentation of his framed Copy of Freedom certificate.

Speaking before the ceremony, Lord Foster said:

“I am humbled by this very special honour, which is a unique facet of London’s age-old conventions. The City of London is steeped in several centuries of history, a fact that is reflected in the buildings that surround us, and its rich traditions that are alive and well today.”

Christopher Hayward, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, said:

“During a career that has spanned five decades, Norman Foster has left an indelible mark on major cities across the globe by designing visually stunning buildings that stand as monuments to his remarkable talent. His passion for his work is abundantly clear, and we are delighted to admit him into the Freedom of the City of London to recognise his legacy.”

Deputy Michael Welbank, Chief Commoner of the City of London Corporation, said:

“Norman Foster’s technically superb and visionary designs, not to mention the astonishing breadth of his work, have ensured his position as one of the world’s most respected architects.“With a zest for life and no signs of slowing down as he approaches his 82nd birthday, it is our privilege to pay tribute to his outstanding work, some of which adds distinction to the Square Mile’s skyline. My colleagues and I look forward to welcoming him to Guildhall for his Freedom ceremony.”

The Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade; and today, people are nominated for, or apply for, the Freedom, because it offers them a link with the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions. The Freedom is also offered to individuals by the City of London Corporation to help celebrate a significant achievement, or to pay tribute to their outstanding contribution to London life or public life.



Lord Foster’s photo call will be held at Guildhall Art Gallery, EC2, from 12.45pm to 12.55pm. Photographers are asked to contact Andrew Buckingham (see below) for accreditation.


Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333 060



The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

• We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of around £20 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

• We also help look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London.

• We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.

See for more details.