Richard Rogers has been honored with the Coutts Lifetime Achievement Medal for his “significant and fundamental contributions to the design industry,” an announcement made as part of the London Design Festival in Rogers’ newly completed Leadenhall Building.
“He has played a leading role in designing buildings that made us think again about how we use them and how they function,” stated London Design Festival director Ben Evans. :His eminence is global, and he is part of a golden era of leading British architects who not only reshaped our city but also reshaped the world to some capacity.”
Settled comfortably around a black conference table – the only item of furniture in an office space still lacking its carpet tiles – on the 40th floor of the new Leadenhall Building, I had the opportunity to discuss with lead designer Graham Stirk and his partner, practice co-founder Richard Rogers, the forces that shaped their new building and how they came to be working in the City of London once again.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has a rich presence in the Square Mile, including the landmark Lloyd’s of London, standing directly opposite the Leadenhall Building. The firm has specialised in assured, sometimes assertive insertions within the City’s fine, historic urban grain, and so setting aside the sheer bravura of the 52-story, 225 meter skyscraper, with its sloping glass façade to the south (giving it the popular nickname of the Cheesegrater) the first question that arose was a simple one – how did the building come about?
Organized by the New York School of Interior Design, and curated for CMOA by Raymund Ryan, curator of architecture, Carnegie Museum of Art is hosting a new exhibit: Maggie’s Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care. Opening September 13, the exhibit showcases the extraordinary Maggie’s Centres, works of integrated architecture designed to address essential human needs and the everyday challenges of cancer patients undergoing treatment. The work of Frank Gehry, Piers Gough, Steven Holl, Rem Koolhaas, and Richard Rogers have been selected to be included in the exhibition, and provide insight into how some of the most influential architects of our age have sought to positively alter the look, and more significantly, the feel, of healthcare facilities.
Reacting to URBED‘s winning proposal in the Wolfson Economics Prize, Richard Rogers has denounced the idea of creating new Garden Cities in the UK, saying that the “ridiculous concept” risks “emptying out existing cities and that is a ridiculous idea.”
The proposal by URBED demonstrates how as many as forty towns and cities in the UK, including Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Rugby, Reading and Stafford could be expanded, using the fictional city of ‘Uxcester’ as a case study. However, speaking to the Guardian, Rogers claimed that there was enough brownfield land in Britain’s major cities to meet the needs of the current housing crisis, and the creation of new Garden cities would lead to increased car use and middle-class only towns.
Read on after the break for more of Rogers’ comments
Scandicci City began as a suburb of Florence and was often described as a commuter town with a lack of a clear urban center. Having reached out to Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to address this need, this short documentary created by scandiccibyrogers.com offers a look inside Rogers’ studio in London and the creation of a new urban master plan for Scandicci City.
In it, Rogers explains his belief that public places are crucial parts of cities, and discusses how urban areas can begin to develop from a dense core – an urban design strategy that responds to the rising popularity of city living in recent years, and utilizes public transportation rather than relying on cars.
In a short film for The Guardian Lead Architect and Partner of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Graham Stirk, tours Robert Booth around the almost-complete Leadenhall Building. The building is referred to as a relative of it’s neighbour, Lloyds of London, which was completed by Richard Rogers‘s practice in 1986. Leadenhall, dubbed the “Cheesegrater” due to its angled façade, is twice the height of Lloyds and is considered to be the physical manifestation of the evolution of Rogers’ architectural and tectonic language. Although less “structurally showy” than its counterpart, the building is still unconventionally bold when it comes to structural expression.
If you like magazines, then you’ll love this: the New Yorker, celebrating their recent redesign, have made their archive free for a limited period only. And, making up for their hiatus as they wait for a redesign of their own, Places Journal has gone to the effort of rounding up the best architecture reads from the last few years. Here are our top three:
Richard Rogers, one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, turns 81 today. Rogers made his name in the 70s and 80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd’s Bank in London, which utilized highly expressive structures that placed services on the exteriors.
In an article for The Guardian Richard Rogers questions why, with space still left in urban areas, we should build in the countryside? Lord Rogers, no stranger to political activism, chaired the UK’s Urban Task Force in the 1990s, culminating in his report Towards an Urban Renaissance. Now, over fifteen years later, his plea for denser, better designed urban environments has been rekindled as he argues that: “We can’t go on like this. The housing shortage threatens both the economy and our quality of life.” Laying out a clear argument reinforced by his forty years of experience as an architect, you can read his article in full here.
Held annually in Singapore, the WAF annually recognizes the world’s most amazing architecture projects (you can learn more here). They have announced an impressive line-up of prominent architects who will speak at the World Architecture Festival in October, including:
- Rocco Yim of Rocco Design Associates will be speaking about his involvement in the West Kowloon Cultural District, the largest arts and cultural project in Hong Kong to date
- Richard Rogers will speak candidly about his life as one of the most influential global figures in architecture and his future agenda
- Moshe Safdie will be closing the Festival, looking back over his extensive career to talk exclusively about the defining moments that shaped its path
The renowned speakers complement a list of notable projects that will soon be revealed in a shortlist. Registration for the event, which takes place from October 1-3, is open now. Sign up and stay tuned to ArchDaily for the latest coverage of the World Architecture Festival and the co-located event, the INSIDE Festival.
Following the news that Lloyd’s of London is planning to leave it’s Grade-I listed headquarters designed by Richard Rogers, Edwin Heathcote has written an interesting article asking whether the Lloyd’s Building - along with some other more spectacular failures of ‘iconic’ commercial architecture – can teach us anything about how we ought to design buildings. He argues that while high-profile design serves developers well, tenants seem to prefer bland yet functional corporate buildings, leading Heathcote to ask: shouldn’t we be seeking something in between? You can read the article in full here.
Insurance firm Lloyd’s of London has indicated that it plans to leave its famous Richard Rogers-designed headquarters, which it has occupied since construction ended in 1986. Lloyd’s has recently been involved in talks with Henderson, the developer of Make Architects‘ Gotham City project which earlier this year gained planning permission for a site adjacent to their current headquarters.
More on the building’s uncertain future after the break
Maggie’s Centres are the legacy of Margaret Keswick Jencks, a terminally ill woman who had the notion that cancer treatment environments and their results could be drastically improved through good design. Her vision was realized and continues to be realized today by numerous architects, including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Snøhetta - just to name a few. Originally appearing in Metropolis Magazine as “Living with Cancer,” this article by Samuel Medina features images of Maggie’s Centres around the world, taking a closer look at the organization’s roots and its continued success through the aid of architects.
It was May 1993, and writer and designer Margaret Keswick Jencks sat in a windowless corridor of a small Scottish hospital, dreading what would come next. The prognosis was bad—her cancer had returned—but the waiting, and the waiting room, were draining. Over the next two years until her death, she returned several times for chemo drips. In such neglected, thoughtless spaces, she wrote, patients like herself were left to “wilt” under the desiccating glare of fluorescent lights.
Wouldn’t it be better to have a private, light-filled space in which to await the results of the next bout of tests, or from which to contemplate, in silence, the findings? If architecture could demoralize patients—could “contribute to extreme and mental enervation,” as Keswick Jencks observed—could it not also prove restorative?
This is the central idea behind the experiment Keswick Jencks, or “Maggie,” started with her husband, architectural historian and theorist Charles Jencks, more than two decades ago. Their mission—to provide free, global care for cancer patients through great architecture—has since expanded to encompass 17 building projects (“Maggie’s Centres”), many of them by celebrated architects like Richard Rogers and Rem Koolhaas.
NOWNESS has released the latest in their “In Residence” series, a collection of short videos that interview designers in their homes. This time, internationally renowned Mexican Architect Fernando Romero presents his Mexico City villa, designed by Francisco Artias in 1955, which he describes as “the ultimate modernity dream come true.”
The Y-Cube, a £30,000 factory-built 26 square meter flat which can be easily transported and craned into place, has been prototyped and successfully tested in the UK. The YMCA asked Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to create the Y-Cube, an affordable alternative for residents moving on from the non-profit’s hostels. And now, the YMCA wants more of these one-bedroom dwellings.
“The beauty is that the units can be moved off site as quickly as they are installed,” says Andy Redfearn of the YMCA, “as we operate on short-term leases – we expect people to stay [in the Y-Cube] for between three to five years, giving them time to skill up and save for a deposit.”