The Italian Almanac

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Sir Norman Foster

Italian News - April 30

Top British architect Sir Norman Foster has won Italy's prestigious Marble Architectural Award for the most original use of famed Carrara marble - the same stone that Michelangelo carved. Foster was rewarded for his work in the new Great Court of the British Museum in London. "It was a highly innovative project," the prizegiving committee said in this northern Tuscan city.

The Great Court, completed in 2000, exploits an unused area of the British Museum that is as large as a football pitch and is now the largest indoor surface in Europe. Foster shared the award with his Chinese-American colleague Pei Ieoh Ming, who got the prize for the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin.

Foster, one of the biggest names in world architecture, is no stranger to Italy and last August was given the job of remodelling the historic sea front of Trieste. The project is part of Trieste's ongoing efforts to recover the splendour it enjoyed when it was one of the treasures of the Hapsburg Empire.