Architect Turned Buildings Inside Out

Richard Rogers designed Pompidou Centre and Millennium Dome
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 21, 2021 5:29 PM CST
Architect Focused on Buildings' Surroundings
People walk in front of the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris in 1997.   (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere, File)

(Newser) – Richard Rogers, the British architect who helped change the look of modern cities by putting features like elevators and air ducts on the outside of his buildings, has died at 88. Rogers, who founded the firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, burst into public view in 1972 with the Pompidou Centre in Paris, a futuristic block of scaffolding-like metal pipes and glass walls that he designed with another young architect, Renzo Piano. Other major designs included London's Millennium Dome and the Lloyd’s of London building, the AP reports.

But Rogers also wanted his designs to be part of revitalized urban landscapes, arguing that parks and public spaces should be developed alongside office buildings and that mass transit and improved communications should replace private cars. "Through Richard, as a young graduate, I learnt that architecture was about much more than the design of buildings, its social and political impacts were equally important," Ivan Harbour, a senior partner at the firm, said in a statement. In a career of almost 60 years, Rogers won his profession’s highest honor, the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and France's Legion d'Honneur. He was a member of Britain's House of Lords.

Born in 1933 in Italy, Rogers was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child. He trained at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London before earning a master's degree from Yale University. He credited his parents, a doctor and an artist, as well as his cousin, architect Ernesto Rogers, with inspiring his interest in the field. "They instilled me with a clear understanding of how, if we build well, we can create a socially inclusive environment," he said at Yale. He was captivated, for example, by the idea of the piazza—the center of public life in Italian cities. "Cities are a stage where people perform and buildings are the sets that frame the performance," Richard Rogers said. "A place for all."

(Read more obituary stories.)

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