One of the most famous British architects, Richard Rogers, known for designing some of the most famous buildings in the world, including the Center Pompidou in Paris, has died at the age of 88.
Rogers, who changed the London skyline with signature designs such as the Millennium Dome and the ‘Cheesegrater’ Leadenhall Building, “passed away quietly” on Saturday night, publicist Matthew Freud told the Press Association.
His son Roo Rogers also confirmed his death to the New York Times, but did not give the cause.
His fellow architect, Norman Foster, describe Rogers, as a “soul mate” whose buildings are “a social mirror” of her personality – “open, welcoming and, like her wardrobe, elegantly colored”. Foster, who studied alongside Rogers at Yale, would continue to collaborate with him as Team 4, alongside Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheesman.
Describing Rogers as “a tireless supporter of the compact, sustainable and pedestrian-friendly city and a passionate opponent of senseless urban sprawl,” Foster said he had “fire in his stomach … until the very end. “.
pay homage, former colleagues at Rogers, Stirk, Harbor + Partners, described a man who “was gregarious, always completely free of status, always inclusive, always explorer and forward-looking.” He retired last year from the architectural firm he founded in 1977. A statement said Rogers was a man “of immense drive and charisma” with a love of people, stressing its political commitment to positive social change.
Director Ivan Harbor said: âI will never forget his wry smile, infectious laughter, fatherly nature and keen intelligence. He was not an archetypal architect, but he was a unique and wonderful human being.
He was married to River Cafe cook and writer Ruth Rogers and had five grown children – three from a previous marriage to Brumwell – and 13 grandchildren. Her son Bo died in 2011 at the age of 27 from a seizure.
The architect of Italian origin has won a series of awards for his designs, including the 2007 Pritzker Prize, and was one of the pioneers of the movement of âhigh-techâ architecture, characterized by structures incorporating materials. industries such as glass and steel.
He was the co-creator of the Center Pompidou de France – opened in 1977 and famous for its multicolored facade covered with pipes – which he designed with the Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Other well-known designs from Rogers include the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the Three World Trade Center in New York, as well as the terminals at Madrid and Heathrow international airports in London, and the Welsh Senedd. He advised Tony Blair, who awarded him a peerage in 1996, as well as Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson. He leave as the mayor’s assistant under him, accusing Johnson and his team of blocking attempts to design public spaces in London. He was also decorated with the Legion of Honor in 1986 and knighted in 1991.
Born in Florence in 1933, his father was a doctor and his mother a former pupil of the famous Irish writer James Joyce. The family fled the Mussolini dictatorship and moved to England in 1939, when Rogers was six.
It was not an easy adjustment. The family, comfortably middle-class in Italy, lived in a one-room apartment in Bayswater, London, which operated with a coin meter for heating and a tub in the closet.
âLife had gone from color to black and white,â Rogers recalled in his 2017 autobiography âA Place for all Peopleâ.
School wasn’t any easier either. Rogers was dyslexic at a time when there was no diagnosis for the disease and he was “called dumb,” he told The Observer in 2017.
He was miserable, he said in his autobiography, “falling asleep crying every night – years of unhappiness.” Happier in recent years, he described his upbringing by his left-wing parents as “strict in some ways. But as a teenager, they didn’t mind who I slept with, as long as she was there for breakfast. I was brought up to be free.
After the war his family could return to Italy for the summers, and he described his adventures traveling independently from the age of 17, writing: âI ran with the bulls in Pamplona and dodged the collectors of tickets by hanging on the outside of the trains; I spent a night in the cells of Saint-SÃ©bastien after being arrested by the Franco-ist Guardia Civil for swimming naked in the sea.
He left school in 1951 without a diploma but managed to enter the Architectural Association School in London, known for its modernism. He completed his architectural studies at Yale in the United States in 1962, where he met Foster.
Although the buildings are Rogers’ world, he insisted that it was the space around them that was the key to defining which ones worked.
âThe two cannot be tried separately,â he told The Guardian in 2017.
âThe Twin Towers in New York, for example. They weren’t tall buildings, but the space between them was.