As founder and chairman of Foster+Partners, Norman Foster has created projects at every scale but may be best known for such innovative tall buildings as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters in Hong Kong (1986), the Swiss Re tower in London, a.k.a. “the Gherkin” (2004), and the Hearst Tower in New York (2006). The firm's airport projects include Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok (1998) and Terminal 3 in Beijing International Airport (2008), which is one of the largest buildings in the world. Foster spoke with record editor in chief Cathleen McGuigan about large-scale architecture and the human experience.
Architectural Record: For much of your career, you've grappled with the issue of scale in very big buildings. The Beijing airport is nearly 14 million square feet. How did you manipulate the scale to make it a place people can navigate?