Norman Foster Foundation Workshop 2018—Digital X

January 2018

The first Norman Foster Foundation Digital X Workshop took place on 15-19 January 2018, supported by Future Planet Capital.

‘All things digital are simultaneously local and global, large and small, inside and outside of a given boundary’, stated workshop mentor Nicholas Negroponte. ‘The digital world is not crisp; it is porous and diffuse. It brings together previously separate worlds, like those of discovery, invention and expression. It does that because it has become the DNA of each. Architecture does that too.’

What happens when the natural world and the artificial world become one and the same? How does society change when direct brain communication occurs among humans, and between humans and machines? The workshop focused on this kinship, that of architecture and the digital world, how the two play together now, and how they will change the world together, going forward, discussing things that, outrageous today, will be commonplace tomorrow.


After reviewing applications submitted by hundreds of candidates from around the world, the selection committee awarded ten scholarships to students from the following universities and institutions: Architecture and Geomatics, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Architecture and Urbanismo Faculty (USP), Sao Paolo, Brazil; Bartlett School of Architecture, London, UK; Centre for Urban Science and Engineering IIT, Bombay, India; City Futures Research Centre, University New South Wales, Australia; National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore; Stanford Department of Civil and Environmental, California, US; Technion Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv, Israel; Technische Universiteit Delft (TU), The Netherlands and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

These ten students developed an essay on theme of Digital X tutored by a group of specialists through a series of seminars and lectures culminating in a five-day workshop led by the Atelier mentor, Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and former director of MIT Media Lab.

The Academic Body included: Ricky Burdett, Director of LSE Cities and Urban Age Programme; Hugh Herr, Co-Director of the MIT Center for Extreme Bionics; Kent Larson, Director of MIT City Science Iniacitive; Amanda Levete, Founder and Principal of AL_A; Greg Lynn, Professor at UCLA School of Arts and Architecture; Farshid Moussavi, Principal of Farshid Moussavi Architecture and Benedetta Tagliabue, Principal of Miralles Tagliabue EMB Architects.


The Digital X Workshop included seminars, lectures, one-to-one tutoring and architectural tours to learn more about the context of Madrid. Architectural critic and writer Jonathan Glancey acted as the Editor-inChief of the workshop tutoring the students to think ahead and to elaborate an essay with their personal view on the subject.

As a way to disseminate knowledge and ideas, the public lectures were recorded and documented for publication in series of annual books published by the Norman Foster Foundation. During the course of the workshops, participants had the opportunity to engage with the Norman Foster Foundation’s archive and research projects.