Richard Rogers, One of the Leading Architects of the British High-Tech Movement

Richard Rogers, One of the Leading Architects of the British High-Tech Movement

As one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, Pritzker Prize-winner Richard Rogers stands out as one of the most innovative and distinctive architects of a generation. Rogers made his name in the 1970s and '80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd's Bank in London. To this day his work plays with similar motifs, utilizing bright colors and structural elements to create a style that is recognizable, yet also highly adaptable.

NEO Bankside. Image Courtesy of Edmund SumnerThe Leadenhall Building. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford PropertiesLloyd's of London Building. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinrp/332669479'>Flickr user dalbera</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>Millennium Dome. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesjin/58712717/'>Flickr user jamesjin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>+ 18

© 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP
© 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

Rogers was born in Florence, but his family moved to Britain during the Second World War, when Rogers was a child. After attending the Architectural Association in London, Rogers studied in the United States at Yale University, where he met fellow Brit Norman Foster. After graduating, the two architects joined forces with Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheeseman to form Team 4 in 1963. Though their collaboration as Team 4 lasted just four years, it would prove to be a crucial formative stage in British architecture, as both Rogers and Foster went on to be the leading names of the British High-Tech scene.

Rogers House / Richard & Su Rogers. Image © Tim Crocker
Rogers House / Richard & Su Rogers. Image © Tim Crocker

Shortly after Team 4 was disbanded, Rogers began another fruitful collaboration, this time with Renzo Piano. The duo's big break came in 1971 when, working with architect Gianfranco Franchini and Peter Rice, an engineer from Arup, they won the competition to design the Centre Pompidou. Still young and relatively unknown, Rogers and Piano shocked many with their radical design, placing the building's services in full view in a trademark Rogers technique that went on to be known as "bowellism."


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Richard Rogers Retires After 43 Years of Practice

Inmos Microprocessor Factory. Image © Ken Kirkwood
Inmos Microprocessor Factory. Image © Ken Kirkwood

Despite a mixed reception when it was completed in 1977, the Centre Pompidou has gone on to be a much-loved building in Paris. It is widely recognized as a defining moment in the history of museum design, as its unpretentious and futuristic design was intended to break down the elitist aura that was often held by art museums. A similar occurrence happened in London a decade later: now working as Richard Rogers Partnership, Rogers utilized his bowellist style again at the Lloyd's of London Building, garnering criticism at the time. However, the Lloyd's building is now a treasured landmark of central London, and was even given the UK's highest listed status, Grade I, in 2011.

Lloyd's of London Building. Image © Mark Ramsay
Lloyd's of London Building. Image © Mark Ramsay

In the 1990s Rogers became involved in British politics, sitting in the House of Lords as a Labour Peer (his full title is Baron Rogers of Riverside). This led to an invitation by the government to set up the Urban Task Force, which in 1998 conducted a review into the causes of urban decay and outlined a vision for the future of British Cities in the paper "Towards an Urban Renaissance." For 8 years he was also chief advisor on architecture and urbanism for the Mayor of London.

The Leadenhall Building. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties
The Leadenhall Building. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties

Rogers has won the Stirling Prize in 2006 and 2009, and was chosen as the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

In September 2020, Richard Rogers announced his retirement from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners after founding the practice 43 years ago.

Millennium Dome. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesjin/58712717/'>Flickr user jamesjin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
Millennium Dome. Image © Flickr user jamesjin licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Centre Georges Pompidou / Richard Rogers + Renzo Piano. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalbera/2496569412'>Flickr user dalbera</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>NEO Bankside. Image Courtesy of Edmund SumnerThe Leadenhall Building. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford PropertiesLloyd's of London Building. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinrp/332669479'>Flickr user dalbera</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>Millennium Dome. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesjin/58712717/'>Flickr user jamesjin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>Bodegas Protos / Richard Rogers + Alonso y Balaguer. Image Courtesy of Richard Rogers + Alonso y BalaguerNuovo Centro Civico in Scandicci. Image © Alessandro CiampiInmos Microprocessor Factory. Image © Ken KirkwoodLloyd's of London Building. Image © Mark RamsayY-Cube. Image © Grant SmithBBVA Bancomer Tower / LEGORRETA + LEGORRETA + Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © Grant SmithRogers House / Richard & Su Rogers. Image © Tim CrockerLas Arenas / Richard Rogers + Alonso y Balaguer. Image Courtesy of Alonso y BalaguerCentre Georges Pompidou / Richard Rogers + Renzo Piano. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/37777824@N00/406030600'>Flickr user Rui Ornelas</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>3 World Trade Center. Image via Rogers Stirk Harbour + PartnersMadrid-Barajas Airport Terminal 4 / Estudio Lamela & Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image Courtesy of Estudio Lamela & Rogers Stirk Harbour + PartnersThe Macallan New Distillery and Visitors Experience. Image © Joas Souza+ 18

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Cite: Rory Stott. "Richard Rogers, One of the Leading Architects of the British High-Tech Movement" 23 Jul 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/405538/happy-birthday-richard-rogers> ISSN 0719-8884
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Centre Georges Pompidou / Richard Rogers + Renzo Piano. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalbera/2496569412'>Flickr user dalbera</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>

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