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Richard Rogers Architect Biography

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Architecture
Wordcount: 1936 words Published: 2nd May 2018

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This report is written to acknowledge an architectural design icon, Richard Rogers. I will be looking at this man’s life and his accomplishments. Richard Rogers is my design icon because his buildings are bold, daring, eye-catching and of course, inspirational.

To get the information and research I need, I will be mainly gathering it from the internet, interviews and videos as well as any books I can come across.

Hopefully, after reading this report you will understand why Richard Rogers is considered a design icon not to just myself, but the rest of the world.

Richard Rogers

As a person, Richard Rogers has lead an incredible life, born in Italy, he trained at the AA (Architectural Association) and Yale University leaving with an impressive amount of qualifications.

Richard Rogers, his partner Norman Foster and their wives Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheesman, set up an architectural practice called Team 4, although this partnership only lasted a 4 years, Richard continued to marry Su, and create a new partnership with Renzo Piano when they then designed the first of many inspirational buildings, the Pompidou Centre.

Richard won various awards for many different buildings, even though he did have some problems with the public about his buildings, he did go on to design another building, the Lloyd’s building in London, which is much more popular today than it was when it was being built.

Richard has visited many different countries leaving his mark in many of them, including the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany, New York and Japan. He has inspired many people with his buildings and his determination. He has not being afraid of putting his ideas forward, and has been given both grief and praise by the public. He is committed to ensuring that his buildings should be “people’s places”.

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The BBC invited Richard as the first architect to give the BBC Reith Lectures for a series called ‘Cities for a Small Planet’. Richard even became the Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism to the Mayor of London, he has also been a chairman of the Tate Gallery and Honorary Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. If that wasn’t enough, he even went on to be knighted and became Lord Rogers.

Richard Rogers has many achievements and has done many, many things over his lifetime, below is a short timeline of some of his most remarkable achievements.

Richard Rogers was born in Florence, Italy in 1933. Richard moved to London to go to the Architectural association. He then went on to gain a master’s degree from Yale University in 1962.

Richard met up with former Yale student Norman Foster and began an architectural practice called Team 4 with their wives, although the partnership only lasted a few years, Richard quickly found a new partner, Renzo Piano, who together won the Prizker Price their building the Pompidou Centre which was built in 1977.

His next main building was Lloyds building in London which was completed in 1986 which became just as much of a monument as big ben. The European Court of Human Rights (1995) is very popular in France, for its fantastic looks. The Barajas airport in Madrid was also a head turner. The Millennium Dome though really was a fantastic structure, representing so much in such a unique way, this was completed in 1999. Another big project was London Heathrow Terminal 5, there was so much to this project, but it was finally completed in 2008. And finally, a real monument, Three Word Trade Centre, it is said to be completed between 2011 and 2015, it is to stand next to two other towers built by other architects using the same style.



Richard Rogers has designed many buildings, most popular are the Pompidou Centre in Paris, in London he designed the Lloyd’s Building, the Millennium Dome and London Heathrow Terminal 5. The European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg, Barajas airport terminal 4 in Madrid and the National Assembly for Wales building were also fantastic structures.

The Pompidou Centre

The Centre Pompidou was Richards first building created alongside Renzo Piano in 1977, the design of which won the Prizker Prize in 2007 by basically creating the building inside out.

This meant that all the parts you would usually expect to see inside, like the stairs, air ducts, plumbing, cables, etc. were all on the outside of the building creating massive indoor space, which is particularly useful as this particular building was used as an art museum, in fact, it is the largest museum for modern art in Europe.

Not only was this building functional, it also complimented its use for an art museum, impressing its visitors before they even entered the building. In theory, having the internal maintenance, such as the plumbing and air ducts, should also make the building easier to maintain. Another complimenting aspect of the building is how each external part has being colour coded to make sure they stood out rather than blend in.

The Pompidou’s original plans were actually much more extravagant to start, including moving internal walls and adjustable floors, which unfortunately, did not make it into the final design. Richard was at first reluctant to put this design forward as he was confident that the French government would turn it down, but as it has it, they didn’t, and although it was criticized at first and claimed to be ‘ugly’ it is now complimented on being “one of the most remarkable buildings of the 20th century.”

The headquarters for Lloyd’s of London

Richard used the Pompidou center as an inspiration for his next building, the Lloyds building in London. This was a massive project as the previous building was created in steel where as this one of concrete.

Once again the building was designed with its internal parts, outside, this even included glass lifts which were the first of their kind in the UK, as well as the cables, stairs, pipes and even the toilets. This, of course, left large open spaces on the inside.

Once again the Lloyds building was brightly coloured and brightly lit. The public at first feared this would make this building an ‘alien’ is actually “regarded as one of the finest buildings on London since the 1980’s”

The Millennium Dome

The millennium dome is another one of Richards’s creations. It is a very clever design with 12 towers or ‘arms’ extruding from the white canopy which support the roof of the structure. Stretching out a massive 365m diameter, the Dome is the biggest one in the world. The design of the structure is also clever as you will notice 365m in diameter, one meter for each day of the year, as well as one tower for each month of the year. Although you would of never of realized until someone mentioned it, it’s still a remarkable thing to have built in.

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On the inside there was a large open space with a skylight in the center of it all to fill with whatever the users would like, which for the millennium, was split into 13 different zones to educate the public in an interactive way, unfortunately, the £43 million building only brought in half the expected visitors and was finally converted into the 02 Arena.

The millennium dome was a remarkable structure built for the millennium and had been planned for since 1996, and was originally planned as a temporary structure to last only 1 year, but as it happens, it’s lasted much longer.

175 Greenwich Street

175 Greenwich Street is the future site of the 3rd world trade center. The structure will stretch up to 1155 feet with 71 stories, four of which will be below street level. The building will occupy 200x 198 feet.

The building itself has been designed to the highest energy efficiency ratings. It is to have a central concrete core using a steel frame on the outside of the building. It is planned to be completed between 2011and 2015 depending when the site is available to developers.

The building will also be accompanied by two other towers built by separate architects but hired by the same company, Silverstein Properties. All three buildings are to have the same style.

London Heathrow Terminal 5

Terminal 5 was finally approved in 2001 after a 46 month public inquiry, the longest public inquiry in British history. In 2002 work had finally started and was not completed until 2008. The new terminal means that the airport can support a much higher passenger capacity, but it will not have any more flights, although environmentalists say it will lead to more flights and pollution.

For the terminal to be built, two rivers had to be diverted. Using artificial waterways to successfully divert the rivers allowed the £4.2 billion building to be built. Terminal 5 had to include a railway station and several other buildings as well as a control tower; this really shows how big the project actually is.


Richard Rogers has been accused of having several different styles, he himself is committed on his buildings being “people places”, although this is not normally classed as a style, he certainly has made it into one with his structures have exceedingly large indoor spaces.

Bowellism is another style related to his first building, the Pompidou Centre. Having the internal components such as the lifts, pipes, stairs and cables externally, means that there is an unreal amount of floor space, which, for an art museum, is very useful.

Post-modern is referred to another one of his structures, the Lloyds building in London, having all the components clearly visible, and then brightly painted, and then brightly lit

When Richard was younger, he dreamed of building a Zip-up house where his parents would live, a zip-up house basically means ready to assemble or a flat pack house. Having walls, floors, panels and so on prebuilt and fabricated making the building energy efficient, and easy to adjust.


As you can see, Richard Rogers has lead a remarkable life, building many inspirational buildings such as the Pompidou Centre, leaving his mark in many countries such as England, and many cities such as Strasbourg, he has received many well deserved awards for his buildings and has even been knighted by the queen.

He has an incredible design eye, and is not afraid to go outside of the box, or in some cases, the building, and even though some of his buildings have been criticized badly, in the end, they always came out positive.

The fact that Richard is still designing, and his designs still make the public gasp is amazing, hopefully he will continue to build and design for as long as possible, and I’m sure that many people will be inspired by his work and his life. All of these things, and many, many more, defiantly make him a supreme choice of a design icon.


Trying to recommend anything for Richard Rogers is extremely difficult as he has done it all, he’s traveled, he’s married, he’s left his mark, he’s inspired, he’s lived, if anything people should look at his life and make recommendations for themselves. Do what you love doing, and do it until you die, don’t be afraid of putting your ideas forward, and fight for what you want.


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