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16 November 2020

Beyond Time: Richard Rogers


Richard Rogers, produced groundbreaking works, has an unshakable place among the architects who have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries. The architect, who announced his retirement from Rogers Stirk Harbor + Partners that he founded 43 years ago in September 2020, is also one of the first names to put architecture on the agenda of politics with his political discourses on the phenomenon of urbanization.


Born in Italy in 1933, Rogers' architectural career is based on his architectural education at AA (Architectural Association) in England and then at Yale University in America. After graduating, Rogers made his first partnership with Team 4, which he established with his first wife Sue, Norman and Wendy Foster, and the second in 1970 with the Italian architect Renzo Piano, last month's guest of our The Architect Chasing the Tree column, under the name of Piano + Rogers Architects. The Georges Pompideu Center, which he designed with him, is perceived by traditionalists as an ugly structure that spoils the skyline of Paris in the 70's, but has already proven how successful it is both technically and conceptually, by preserving its current status.


The Expressionist Lloyd's Building
Rogers, who founded the Richard Rogers Partnership after the completion of the Georges Pompideu Center, which was a turning point in his career as well as in the history of architecture, continues to have a worldwide repercussion. For example, Lloyd’s building in London (1978-1986), which he won as a result of a competition, symbolizes Rogers’s architectural expressionism, beyond being an urban groundbreaker. Although there are obvious similarities with his previous project, Rogers sets out from the idea of ​​a building that adapts more to the visual fabric of the city, rather than as a completely alien addition to its surroundings. Stairs, elevators and other services are also expressed through towers and chimneys on the exterior, which have been moved from inside the building to the outside. Just like Louis Kahn's architectural approach, which divides buildings into two as "serving and serving spaces".


With Its Prefabricated "Tree" and Bamboo Roof: Madrid Barajas Terminal 4
Madrid Barajas Airport-Terminal 4 (1997-2010) also repeats Rogers' principles such as "the machine-building phenomenon, architectural transparency, communication of public and private spaces, user-oriented flexible floor plans". Providing a functional and comfortable space for passengers, the terminal building has been handled with a holistic approach, taking into account the urban and architectural dimension, human scale and environmental effects.
Beyond being a service area that is serving air traffic, the airport's being an integrated part of the urban fabric with its architecture is one of the most important characteristics of this terminal project. The easy-to-read architectural solution that facilitates the travel process of the passengers, distinguishes the different functional volumes and modules in the main building and highlights sequential processes. The legible, modular design of the building creates successive waves of wide wings made of prefabricated steel. The large roof supported by central 'trees' enables the space to benefit from natural light as much as possible. Light-filled 'canyons', a simple material palette and details define the character of the architecture. Inside, bamboo strips give a smooth and uninterrupted look to the undulating steel roof.
The architect, who has been consulting in the planning departments of various institutions of the state since 1998, has also become an effective name with his political views. In 1999, Richard Rogers sparked the urban renaissance by writing the report 'Towards an Urban Renaissance' as head of the Urban Task Force; with the support of the New Workers Party of England, he carried out sustainable urban transformation projects, defending the need for walkable, sustainable cities and suburbs to spread: a mixed master plan project in Manhattan East River Waterfront, Seoul, Convoys Wharf (2002-2005) located on the banks of the River Thames and the urban environment of Wembly Stadium in West London (2002-2005), dock renovation in Lisbon Almada (2002-2010), Potsdamer Platz in Berlin (1991), Piana di Castello (1995) near Florence and such as the Pudong peninsula (1992-1994) in Shanghai. It is possible to see the architectural understanding of Rogers, who symbolized it with the Millennium Dome (1996-1999) that he designed in Greenwich, in his recent projects such as the 71-story World Trade Center building for New York City and Tokyo Nippon TV Head Office.



Awarded by the Praemium Imperiale (2000)given by the Japan Art Association(2000), the Stirling Prize for the use of light in the Madrid Barajas project (2006), the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2007) and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (2019), Rogers' biggest contribution is not only to create a technological image as in Pompidou, but also to emphasize the social and urban dimension of architecture; to reveal the ingenious synthesis of detail and structure.

Richard Rogers, produced groundbreaking works, has an unshakable place among the architects who have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries.