Bjarke Ingels Group's proposed redesign of 2 World Trade.
Image courtesy BIG

When news that Norman Foster’s design for 2 World Trade Center would be swapped in favor of a more eccentric scheme by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), speculation as to the reasons stacked up as high as the glazed volumes in the elected design.

Photo © Nigel Young/Foster+Partners
Founder and chairman of Foster+Partners, Norman Foster.

Wired reported that James Murdoch, soon-to-be CEO of the project’s anchor tenant, 21st Century Fox, didn’t like Foster’s building: “that’s why Foster ended up being bumped aside in favor of Ingels, who is exactly half his age.”

But the British architect made it clear that there is no beef between him, the tenant, the developer Silverstein Properties, or Ingels.

“These things happen,” Foster told RECORD. “They happen to every architect. They’re part of the profession.”

Foster spoke at a cocktail reception at the Hearst Tower in celebration of a new book about his firm’s work by critic Paul Goldberger, Norman Foster: Building With History.

When asked why he thinks the change in architects was made, Foster responded, “Larry [Silverstein] called me up and said his lead tenant [News Corp and 21st Century Fox] wanted to work with an architect they were familiar with. I told him I understood.”  21st Century Fox hired Ingels early this year to design its new headquarters even before it decided to move to the World Trade Center.

Foster and Ingels are working on the design for the Battersea Park in London. “I have only respect for Lord Norman Foster and his team,” Ingels told RECORD this week.

Asked about BIG’s design for the tower, Foster said, “I haven’t seen it yet.”