It was a good week to be Lord Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA. His London-based firm has recently issued a steady stream of newsworthy projects in several scales, also announcing the opening of an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur of the firm’s work, which will be open through May 12. The openings this week range from a pavilion in Marseille, France to a London hotel, to an urban plan for the Thames River and its surrounds.
The Marseille pavilion, dubbed Vieux Port, could easily substitute for a Serpentine Gallery entry in another year; its reflective surfaces and eight slender columns call up visions of a rectangular blending of last year’s pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei with SANAA’s contribution from 2009. Four miles away from the firm’s London headquarters, the 157-bed ME Hotel celebrated its opening at the start of March. The hotel features an elliptical tower overlooking the Westminster skyline, with an interior, pyramidal lightwell--clad in white marble—that brings natural light down to the ground level. Also this week, the firm announced its intention to submit its Thames Hub Airport proposal to the United Kindgom’s Airports Commission. The Foster + Partners proposal includes the addition of four runways to serve the region (with potential expansion to six), alleviating some of the congestion of nearby Heathrow by adding capacity for 150 million passengers.