Norman Foster only architect
on Britain's rich list


Norman Foster

News: Norman Foster is the only architect to appear on this year's list of Britain's 2000 wealthiest people, published by The Sunday Times.

Foster, whose buildings include 30 St Mary Axe – nicknamed the Gherkin – in London's financial centre and the HSBC building in Hong Kong, was placed at 522 in the Rich List, down from his ranking of 501 last year, with a personal fortune estimated at £150 million.

The 77-year-old, who lives in Switzerland, earned £120 million in 2007 after selling 40% of his practice Foster + Partners. He still owns a 45% stake in the firm, where profits fell in 2011-12 to £5.6 million.

Elsewhere on the list, the owners of Scottish architectural practice RMJM were at 859 with a fortune of £80 million, while Irvine and James Sellar, the developers of Renzo Piano's Shard skyscraper in central London, ranked 387 with £200 million.

Zaha Hadid, who last night was named Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year, appeared in last year's list but was absent from the 2013 edition.

Foster + Partners hit the news recently when it was revealed that the new Cupertino campus the firm is designing for tech giant Apple is now nearly $2 billion over budget – see all architecture by Foster + Partners.

  • George

    Wearing a watch that costs $5,000 helps!

  • cor

    So, are we now dealing with gossip too? This is absolutely of no interest!

  • SMN

    It is of interest COR, It is a sad reflection of our industry when only one architect makes the list, especially one that pays all his taxes to the Swiss.

    • Chris

      Even more sad is the fact that he is not rich due to architecture. He is rich because he married a very rich and successful woman. There is no such thing as a rich architect. Only rich people, or rich people’s children, who decided to be architects.

    • JayCee

      I’ll think you’ll probably find his tax lawyers and accountants are cleverer than that. The reason he gave back his peerage was because of his non-dom status. You don’t live in a country where you are taxed on your personal wealth if it means you end up paying more.

  • Kate Millington

    I’d like to know how many bankers made the list.

  • Trips

    Socialism. Everyone suffers.

  • Andrés

    Does Foster&Partners get most of its money from architectural design fees or from construction fees? Does anybody know this in detail?

    • JayCee

      Apparently they charge a higher percentage of fees if the client wants Norman himself on the project as “design consultant”.

  • MZK

    And it would be interesting to compare the richest architects with how much they pay their employees. I’m not sure of anything but kind of guess that the more money they have, the less they pay (but the more they share the work, at least)
    Well, no affirmation here, but it would be interesting to know!

    • cor

      Well, in the Netherlands even some of the best architects (as shown on Dezeen) pay their starting personnel for three days per week but expect them to work five days.

      You can imagine that you can get rich that way, or do they spend more time on your projects? Looks like slavery to me.

  • Jenny

    I just can’t get over how he and Gyles Brandreth get more similar looking every time I see one or t’other:

    • JayCee

      Gyles Brandreth is more interesting.

  • Bernie

    Sucks for all the architecture elites out there.

  • Some great architectural life statements from Norman Foster.

  • confused. com

    and Rogers?