The Architectural Works of Richard Rogers: 1933–2021

In addition to our dedication to producing stunning home renovations in London, we think it’s important for us to recognise and appreciate the history of British Architecture and its pioneers. At Home Tales, we enjoy sharing our knowledge when it comes to ground floor extensions and loft conversions, but today, we wanted to take a moment to remember one of the most prolific British Architects. We would like to share the Architectural Works of Richard Rogers, and his impact on our urban environment.

A brief history

Richard Rogers, a prolific Italian-born British Architect, recently passed away at the age of 88 sending ripples through the architecture world. Born in Florence, Italy, renowned for its beautifully buildings, it is understandable how Rogers was drawn into that world. However, his father was a dentist so naturally his family wanted him to follow suit and become a dentist himself.

Luckily for us, he went against their wishes and pursued a career in architecture, following in the footsteps of his successful Architect cousin, Ernesto Nathan Rogers. Upon moving to the UK, he studied at the Architectural Association, a well-established school that has taught the likes of Dame Zaha Hadid. He then went on to enrol at Yale to further his studies, meeting fellow British Architect, Norman Foster. From then on, they worked together on multiple projects.

Rogers’ designs were innovative and highly technological, yet incredibly controversial at times. He introduced revolutionary concepts that contributed to his status as one of the few big players in the industry. He is known for his incredibly original and impressive buildings that can still be spotted in London’s skyline.

Millennium Dome, Greenwich

If you live in London or have watched the New Year’s 2022 fireworks, you probably already know this building. It is now known as the iconic O2 that we see today and is home to a trendy shopping mall and concert space. However, this site hasn’t always looked so pristine. Originally, this area of Greenwich was derelict and horribly contaminated with toxic waste.

Built in 1999 to celebrate the third millennium during the Festival of Britain, the millennium dome ended up being under budget, but still racked up an enormous £789 million expense. It is made up of a large white fibre-glass fabric marquee that is incredibly light, and fun fact, is technically not a dome as it is not a self-supporting structure. It is held up by the 12 bright support towers which are 100 metres in height, signifying the 12 months of the year or a clock face in reference to Greenwich Mean Time. It is 52 metres at its highest point, marking the number of weeks in a year.

This opening of this building as an exhibition space came with plenty of criticism. Richard Rogers stated that it “couldn’t have had a worse reception if you’d worked hard to deliberately upset everybody”. This was due to a low turnout and messy organisation of crowds. In general, some people enjoyed the building, but others disliked the building. The same structure was rebranded as the O2 in 2005, making it hugely popular amongst shoppers and concertgoers. Alongside The London Eye and Big Ben, the Dome reinforces London’s identity through its architecture.

Lloyd’s Building, London

Rogers was commissioned by Lloyd’s to redevelop its existing building to house the fast-growing company. Its momentous completion in 1986 was celebrated with an official opening by Queen Elizabeth II. The concept behind this Grade 1 listed building was to move all the mess of service pipes, stairs, and lifts, to the outside of the building. This cluttered exterior resulted in a decluttered, open internal plan, in a way prioritising the workers’ needs. It can be seen in the London skyline, helping to further define the city’s character.

This building is 88 metres high with 14 floors and is made up of 3 main towers and 12 glass lifts, making it the first of its kind in the UK. The layout follows a modular design, with the ability to alter each floor by repositioning or removing internal walls without any impact on the other floors.

As an innovative build, there were faults found in its design. After 15+ years since erection, Lloyd’s found the structure’s upkeep very expensive due to the service pipes’ exposure to the elements. The pipes were showing signs of weathering, and maintenance was complicated as it was difficult to access. Lloyds even considered vacating the premises in 2014 but has not followed through with this.

Pompidou Centre, Paris

One of his first stand-out, revolutionary pieces was the collaborative design of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Rogers joined forces with fellow Italian, Renzo Piano, to win the competition for the design of this Arts Centre. Rogers and Piano both have a highly industrial, intricate style that is easy to recognise. It was built in 1977, making it the first major “inside-out” building to keep all of the structure on the outside of the building. Colour coding as assigned to each type of service pipe, creating an overall dynamic exterior. The purpose of the design was to create a town, not a building, making all amenities and services available in one place.

Shockingly, the Pompidou Centre’s initial reception was terribly negative. Parisians hated the look of it, labelling it an eye sore as it did not blend in well with the environment. However, 2 decades later, it appears the world has learned to love it. It gained a bit too much popularity due to the media, sparking plenty more visits from locals, tourists, and students from around the world. The structure was built to accommodate a capacity of 8000 people, but 5 times that amount now arrive on a daily basis. They have even had to add visiting restrictions in order to keep the structure safe.

Although Richard Rogers is gone, his legacy is everlasting through his portfolio of works and influence on the Architecture of today. We hope you have been enlightened to the essence of this pioneer through a few of his prominent works. If you would like to discuss a prospective home renovation project with us, feel free to contact our friendly team on 02070432378, or via email at Alternatively, click here to book in a no-obligations telephone consultation with us for a time that best suits you.

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