Richard Rogers, the master of inside-out buildings, dies at 88

Richard Rogers, the visionary architect recognized for his completely authentic, technologically modern designs, has handed away at the age of 88. Rogers was considered one of the world’s most profitable and influential architects of the previous century, incomes him most of his trade’s main honors, plus a knighthood in 1991.

Rogers helped design a flurry of visually hanging buildings, most notably the famed Pompidou Centre in Paris and the polished-steel Lloyd’s constructing in London. Each of these initiatives positioned him at the vanguard of the inside-out motion, which glorifies the entrails of a constructing to the level the place pipes, elevators, and structural skeletons grow to be half of its expression.

Roger had retired final yr, and his closing constructing—a cantilevering artwork gallery in southern France that wears its framework on its sleeve—was accomplished in February this yr.

Rogers was born in Florence, in 1933. He was six when his household moved from Mussolini’s Italy to England. After a troublesome childhood—he struggled in boarding faculty and solely realized to learn at 11—he acquired into the Architectural Affiliation in London,  then generally known as the most avant-garde structure faculty in the U.Ok.


Then Rogers landed a Fulbright scholarship to Yale, the place he met Norman Foster (who would later grow to be one other internationally acknowledged architect). Collectively, with their respective wives—Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheeseman—Rogers and Foster returned to England and shaped a partnership known as Crew 4, which lasted 4 years. Then Rogers teamed up with Italian architect Renzo Piano (who would go on to design The Shard in London and the Whitney Museum of Artwork in Manhattan). Quickly sufficient, the comparatively unknown duo shot to fame once they gained the competitors to design the Pompidou Heart in Paris. The architects went on to start out their very own practices, and Rogers based Rogers Stirk Harbour + Companions, the place he remained till his retirement final yr. Over the years, he was honored with two Sterling prizes, a RIBA gold medal for structure, and structure’s prime award, the Pritzker Prize.

Rogers’ provocative type wasn’t to everybody’s style. His most vocal opponent was none aside from Prince Charles, who famously attacked trendy architects, together with Rogers’ plan to redevelop Paternoster Sq. close to Saint Paul’s Cathedral, likening their work to the German Luftwaffe as a result of he thought they have been ruining the cityscape. Critics have referred to Rogers’ strategy as “fearlessness and aggression,” and in his 1994 monograph on Rogers, the former director of the London Museum, Deyan Sudjic, wrote, “For some time it appeared that the Rogers workplace had grow to be too controversial to get commissions from any shoppers not ready to face their floor and struggle furiously for his or her proper to decide on the architect’s concepts.”

Listed here are some of Rogers’s most hanging inside-out buildings.

[Photo: DEA/C. SAPPA/De Agostini/Getty Images]

Pompidou Heart

The Pompidou Heart was the epitome of inside-out structure, characterised by its metallic skeleton and color-coded uncovered ducts and providers: inexperienced for plumbing, blue for temperature management, yellow for electrics, and crimson for circulation components. The escalators are tucked in a transparent plastic tube that crawls up the aspect of the constructing like a caterpillar.

When then-French president, George Pompidou, launched the architectural competitors, a whopping 681 structure practices utilized. Rogers + Piano gained, with solely seven constructed initiatives beneath their belt. Regardless of preliminary criticism, Pompidou has been a beloved landmark ever because it opened in 1977, no much less as a result of of its civic inclinations: the constructing occupies solely half the web site the architects have been allotted for this challenge. The remainder was given to the public with a sprawling plaza. Of that public house, Rogers has mentioned that it was “one of the proudest moments of my career.”

[Photo: Bernard Annebicque/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images]

The Lloyds of London constructing


Rogers continued the “inside-outside” theme in the historic middle of London. Accomplished in 1986, the Lloyd’s constructing rose like a polished-steel alien in a medieval London district. The tower is wrapped in exterior lifts, staircases, and air-conditioning ducts, whereas a collection of cranes, leftover from building, lengthen from the roof like gargoyles.

One of the causes Rogers selected to design these kind of buildings was to free the interiors of structural components and create open, versatile layouts that wouldn’t be interrupted by columns. As such, the inside of the Lloyd’s constructing includes a vertiginous, virtually 200-story atrium that’s crisscrossed by escalators and topped by a glass dome.

[Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images]

The Millennium Dome

In 1996, the British authorities was planning an exhibition for the millennium in East London. Rogers took on the challenge, and when it opened on January 1, 1999, the Millennium Dome was the world’s largest domed constructing.

Spanning over 1 million sq. ft, the dome consists of a big Teflon-coated glass-fiber tent suspended from 12 masts, that are held in place by over 40 miles’ price of metal cable. The 12 masts symbolize the 12 months in a yr (or the 12 hours on a clock face). In the meantime, the dome has a diameter of 365 meters (for the quantity of days in a yr), and rises to 52 meters (for the quantity of weeks). (You’ll be able to even climb over the dome on a bouncy, suspended walkway that stretches over the roof.)

Inside, the tent nearly enclosed a whole exhibition web site with a number of pavilions contained inside it. And whereas in the present day, the house has been given over to a extremely controversial procuring middle and music venue, the constructing itself has been broadly acclaimed.

[Photo: View Pictures/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]

Neo Bankside

In 2013, Rogers accomplished Neo Bankside, a four-building complicated straight reverse the west entrance of the Tate Museum in London. Very like different initiatives, he designed the 4 towers with exterior bracing programs. Every of these helps the constructing’s weight, which allowed the architects to keep away from inside structural partitions. Because of this, the flats boast extremely versatile layouts.

Painted a brilliant crimson (like some elements of the Pompidou), the uncovered metal construction additionally nods to the industrial heritage of the space, which was as soon as dominated by the gargantuan oil-fired energy station that’s now the Tate Trendy.

The Richard Rogers Drawing Gallery

When Rogers introduced his retirement from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Companions, the agency he based in 1977, he nonetheless had one final challenge underway. The Richard Rogers Drawing Gallery opened to a lot fanfare in February 2021. The construction is 78 ft lengthy, and virtually all of it’s suspended off the floor, cantilevering from a hillside.


Positioned at Château La Coste, an art-studded winery in Provence, France, the gallery is wrapped in a brilliant orange metal armature. The constructing solely touches the floor in 4 locations: each the corners of the armature, plus two stress rods that assist create the cantilever. The gallery itself is accessed through a small bridge.