Modern architecture according to Richard Rogers, a citizen of the world

Richard Rogers is one of the most renowned names in modern architecture. This Florentine architect (1933) of British nationality has consolidated his career thanks to his futuristic vision.

Recipient of the Pritzker Prize in 2007, he became famous with the revolutionary conception of the Pompidou Center (1971-1977), which he designed in collaboration with the Italian Renzo Piano, winner of a Pritzker in 1998. His work with materials, using bright colors, and structural elements to create his own style has always been ahead of his time thanks to the adaptability of its forms.

This world-renowned architect and founding director of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has recently been recognized with the 2019 AIA Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects since “his influence on the built environment has redefined an architect’s responsibilities to society.”

A bright professional career

His brilliant career began at the Architectural Association in London, and he continued in the United States at Yale University. While in Yale he met the also British Norman Foster, and after graduating, the two architects joined Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheeseman to form Team 4 (1963).

Although the notable team lasted only four years, it proved to be a crucial formative stage for British architecture, since both Rogers and Foster became the main characters of the British high-tech scene.  

After Team 4 dissolved and Rogers, as well as Foster, created their own firms. Rogers teamed up with Renzo Piano, and created a studio called Piano + Rogers, a firm that was entrusted with the design of the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris. This work became a milestone for his career and revolutionized the design of museums and gave Rogers the fame of being a “high-tech Iconoclast” (The New York Times).

Upon finishing the Georges Pompidou Center by the end of 1977, he formed his most famous London studio called Richard Rogers Partnership, which was renamed Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH + P) in 2007.

The 85-year-old architect has created buildings that are quite famous: the headquarters of Lloyd’s Insurance Company in London; the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (east France); the Millennium Dome in London and the modern Terminal of Barajas, Madrid. One of his most recent works is one of the towers that rises where the twin towers of the World Trade Center used to be, just to name a few.

Ecologist, humanist, and poet

Richard Rogers has earned the respect of his colleagues and the admiration of the critics of the industry. Architect Moshe Safdie, winner of the 2015 AIA Gold Medal, has said that before ecological architecture was fashionable, Rogers was already an ecologist. “He recognized from the beginning of his career the challenges of energy and climate, developing innovative solutions,” he said.

Renzo Piano, his partner in the design of the Pompidou Center, claims that Rogers is much more than a great architect. “He is a planner attracted by the complexity of the cities and the fragility of the earth; above all, he is a curious humanist (from art to music, to people, communities, and food); a perpetual explorer of the world. And there is one more thing he could be: a poet.”

For his part, Lord Peter Palumbo of Walbrook, prominent real estate promoter, art collector, former president of the Council of the Arts of Great Britain and Member of the Parliament of this country, upon finding out about this new award referred to Rogers as a humanist who remembers that architecture is the most social aspect of the arts. “Throughout his long and innovative career, Rogers shows us that, perhaps, the most lasting role of an architect is being a good citizen of the world.”

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