OVIEDO.- Sir Norman Foster along with Martin Cooper, Raymond Samuel Tomlinson and others today received the Prince of Asturias Award. Ismaíl Kadaré, Prince of Asturias Awards laureate for Letters; José Narro, Vice-Chancellor of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Prince of Asturias Awards laureate for Communication and Humanities; Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Prince of Asturias Awards laureate for International Cooperation; and Klaus Wowereit, Mayor of Berlin, delivered their speeches at the 2008 Prince of Asturias Awards grand presentation ceremony in its XXIX edition. During the ceremony, the President of the Foundation Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, and H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias, also delivered their speeches. A simultaneous translation service in four languages was provided for the presentation ceremony at the Campoamor Theatre. The Prince of Asturias Foundation provided 1,600 receivers to the audience.
The characteristics that distinguish Foster's work are his constant compromise with the noblest values in architecture, his open approach to innovation, his thoroughness in all phases of a project, his use of state-of-the Art technology, the magnitude of his career and his compliancy with the principles of sustainable development. This candidacy was put forward by Alfonso Vegara, President of the Metropoli Foundation (Spain).
Norman Foster was born in 1935 in Manchester (United of Kingdom) to a working-class family. At the age of 21 he began his architecture studies, which he financed by taking different jobs. After graduating in 1961 at the Manchester University School of Architecture and City Planning, he moved to the United States where he was granted a scholarship to Yale University. There he learnt about the work of such personalities as Lloyd Wright and Kahn, who influenced him significantly. His interest in technology and in overcoming the distance between technology and the building industry came to being in 1966, when he carried out a project for a factory in Wiltshire. In 1967 he founded Foster Associated, a studio which focuses on town planning and objects related to building, with its head office in London and where some of his most outstanding work has been carried out. In 1999 its name changed to Foster and Partners. He currently leads a team of a thousand professionals, with branches in more than 20 countries.
What made him famous was the Bank of Hong Kong and Shanghai, in 1985, a glass skyscraper of 47 floors that stand out for the functionality in its spaces, its natural lighting and its use of technology as a construction tool. In 1988 he was assigned the construction of the metro system in Bilbao (inaugurated in 1995), and the communications tower of Collserola in Barcelona (on Tibidabo), which was vital for the 1992 Olympic Games. Some of his most representative works are the new terminal at London's third airport (Stansted, Essex), the glass dome of the restored Reichstag in Germany, the new Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt (Germany) with 62 floors, the dome in the Great Court of the British Museum (London), the Millenium tower with 92 floors and 385 meters high (London), the Sage Gateshead centre for music (United Kingdom), the Daaewoo Tech Tower (Seoul) and the Carré d´Art (Nimes).
Norman Foster has also built the world's highest bridge, which stands 243 meters above the River Tarn (France) and which is 23 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower. It was inaugurated in December 2004 and is considered the first great project of the 21st century. His latest works include the new underground train station in Florence, the Caja Madrid skyscraper in the Spanish capital, and the Pyramid of Peace and Concord between Religions in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, as well as the world's largest airport in Beijing, the emblem of the Olympic Games in China. His work is on permanent exhibition at the MOMA in New York and at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. Through his firm he also works and campaigns for several non-governmental organizations, such as Save the Children, and he finances grants for students of architecture, together with the Royal Institute of British Architects.
He became Lord Foster of the Thames Bank in 1999 and, among other recognitions, was awarded the Gold Medal for Architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects (1983); the Mies van der Rohe Award (1992); the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (1994); the Pritzker Prize (1999); the Auguste Perret Prize (2002); the Praemium Imperiale (Japan, 2002); and the Madrid Creatividad (2006). The Prince of Asturias Foundation's statues establish that the aim of the Awards is to acknowledge and extol scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work carried out by individuals, groups or institutions worldwide'. Consonant with this spirit, the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts will be bestowed upon the person, institution, group of people or group of institutions whose work in Architecture, Cinematography, Dance, Sculpture, Music, Painting or other forms of artistic expression constitutes a significant contribution to Mankind´s cultural heritage'.
This year a total of 26 candidatures from Austria, Brazil, Cuba, France, Italy, Peru, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States, Russia, and Spain ran for the award. This is the first of eight Prince of Asturias Awards, which are being bestowed this year for the twenty-ninth time. Each of the Prince of Asturias Awards, which date back to 1981, is endowed with 50,000 Euros, a commissioned sculpture donated by Joan Miró, a diploma and an insignia.
Martin Cooper was born in Chicago (Illinois, U.S.A.) in 1928 and received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering in 1950. A pioneer in the wireless communication industry, Cooper invented the first handheld mobile telephone and supervised the ten years that were necessary to commercialize the product. He worked for Motorola for 30 years, where he developed new products that were very profitable for the company. After leaving Motorola, he co-founded the company Cellular Business Systems, which soon dominated the mobile telephony market. In 1992 he was similarly successful with ArrayComm, of which he is executive director and where he developed a system of smart antennas, another great revolution in the world of wireless communication, with uses not only for mobile telephones but also for long-range wireless Internet.
Cooper has worked together with the United States government to allocate new radio frequency spectrums and has formulated the Law on Spectrum Efficiency, also known as Cooper's Law, which states that the maximum amount of information that is transmitted over a given amount of radio spectrum doubles every 30 months. In 2002 he received the George R. Stibitz Computer and Communications Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum and the Leader Award-Wireless Systems Design.
Raymond Samuel Tomlinson
Raymond Samuel Tomlinson was born in Amsterdam (New York) in 1941. He attended the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in his hometown, where he participated in a program with IBM. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer in 1963 and then went on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1967 he joined the technology company Bolt Beranek and Newman -now BBN Technologies- where he helped develop the TENEX operating system, which included the ARPANET and TELNET implementations. In 1971 he developed ARPANet's first application for e-mail by combining the SNDMSG and CPYNET programs so messages could be sent to users on other computers. He chose the @ sign to separate local from global e-mails in the mail address. Soon, the @ sign became the digital icon that it is today.
Tomlinson's first program brought about a complete revolution, breaking through the initial obstacles that stood in the way of the future development of e-mail, which quickly became one of the most commonly used applications on the net and which, due to its immediacy and low cost, has managed to fulfill communication demands in developed societies. In 2000 he received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum. In 2001 he received a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. In 2002 Discover Magazine awarded him its Innovation Award. In 2004, he received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Internet Award (U.S.A.) along with Dave Crocker.