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Norman Foster slams Westminster security designs

Norman Foster has slammed the security barriers at the Palace of Westminster, calling their design a “national outrage”.

Speaking at the British Council for Offices conference in central London, Lord Foster described the anti-terrorist measures as a “national outrage [given] all the design skills in the nation”.

He said: “[If] this is the only way you can protect against the truck bomb… it’s an urban horror.”

The renowned architect was comparing the barriers to the security measures used in Foster + Partners’ own design of its nearly completed Bloomberg office at Walbrook Square in the City of London.

Architects’ Journal reported Lord Foster as saying his practice had “solved the problem” of security in the public space around the building by drafting in Spanish artist Cristina Inglesias to design a feature.

Lord Foster said the structures would perform the “same role as the barriers are performing outside the Palace of Westminster”.

In his speech, the chairman of Foster + Partners also called for office buildings to be designed in a way that is sociable and with workers’ wellbeing in mind.

Bloomberg offices Foster and Partners

Bloomberg offices Foster and Partners

Foster + Partners designed Bloomberg’s new office

He said: “[The office] should be not just about work in isolation; it should be about lifestyle. It should have a social heart, a social focus.

“It should be able to adapt, to change. It should be sustainable in terms of being responsible in relating to issues of climate change, energy, pollution.”

This “social heart” would be evident in Bloomberg’s new European HQ being built by Sir Robert McAlpine, through its central atrium which connects the floors using a spiralling staircase.

Construction News revealed last month that Foster + Partners had made redundancies due to projects completing and uncertainty in the construction market.

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