Colla­­­bora­­­tively crea­­­tive

Andy Bow, architect and senior partner at Foster + Partners, has many years of experience in planning and implementing high-profile architecture projects. He now passes on his knowledge to students at the University of Innsbruck.
Andy Bow.
Image: Andy Bow is a senior partner at Foster + Partners. (Credit: Aaron Hargreaves/Foster + Partners)

“I realised very quickly that architecture was not something you do on your own, that knowledge or inspiration can come from anywhere and it is always a team game”, says Andy Bow about his profession - he is a senior partner at the internationally active architecture firm Foster + Partners, and now he passes on his knowledge and experience to architecture students in Innsbruck. “I first came to the School around fifteen years ago at the invitation of Professor Volker Giencke. As soon as I got there, I loved everything about the school, the warmth of the welcome, the quality of the students’ work, the beautiful building and of course the breath-taking alpine setting of Innsbruck. I always hoped to return one day.” After a lecture in 2019, he is now again a guest lecturer at the University of Innsbruck. Due to the pandemic, his three courses – like the majority of teaching at the University of Innsbruck – are held online, and Bow teaches Bachelor's, Master's and doctoral students there. For Master's students, for example, he teaches a seminar on presentation: „When I started teaching architecture, I realised it is often about how you communicate complex ideas extremely simply. Both in the office or when I’m reviewing work at a university, I often find this is one of the key things I am doing is teaching the next generation of aspiring architects the ‘Art of Communication.’ It’s an important skill to learn and improve through practice. In a sense I’ve been studying the ‘Art of Communication’ for forty years and I still feel I have a lot to learn. That’s the great thing about being an Architect, you are always looking forward to the next opportunity to learn more from everyone involved in the design process.”

Great experience

Over the course of his career, the architect has worked on a wide range of projects, including the Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan, the Ilham Baru Tower in Kuala Lumpur ,the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and Cathay Pacific Lounges in Hong Kong. Current projects include the Battersea Power Station Masterplan in London. Bow understands architecture as a collaborative process, and this understanding is something he also passes on to future generations: „As an architect the job often involves working with artists, sculptors, engineers, city planners and builders. You soon realise that one of the greatest skills that you have to develop as an Architect is listening carefully to all of them, they all have important contributions to make, most notably our clients.” As an architect, you remain a student for life, he says – creative professions in particular require lifelong learning: „The wonder of being in a creative profession is that it remains a lifelong obsession. There is a restless inquisitiveness, driven by a desire to make a difference. In that sense you always remain a student.” He is very satisfied with his time in Innsbruck: “My return to Innsbruck has been everything I wished it would be and hope my contributions to the school may continue for many years to come.”

About Andy Bow

Andy Bow studied at the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art. Since 1996 he has worked at the renowned architectural practice Foster + Partners, where he has been a senior partner since 2006 and is currently a deputy head of studio. At Foster + Partners he is currently working on the Battersea Power Station Masterplan (London) and the Narbo Via museum and events complex in Narbonne (France), among others. Bow has taught at over 30 universities and is currently a visiting professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, in addition to the University of Innsbruck.

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