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Rolls-Royce for the architecture that was born to break the rules


during A remarkable career spanning six decades Perhaps the least remarkable achievement of Richard Rogers was that of being the architect of Britannia the Magnificent.

As such, he oversaw the design of the Millennium Dome, and along with everyone involved in the New Labor project suffered a backlash when opening night turned into what he called “the nightmare of nightmares.”

In fact, Lord Rogers, who died at the age of 88, was one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects during the second half of the twentieth century.

Like Rolls-Royce, Paul Smith or David Beckham, Rogers was in his field a world-class British icon of excellence and style.

During a remarkable career spanning six decades, perhaps Richard Rogers’ least achievement was the architect of Cool Britannia. Photographed with his wife, Ruth

It was also typical of the old saying that a prophet is not always recognized in his own land. His most famous and controversial creation, the Pompidou Center, is located in the capital of our old rivals.

Rogers’ influence transcended the design of unusual buildings. What started as a staff canteen in his London studio has become, under the guidance of his second wife, Ruth Rogers, a zeitgeist dining venue and Michelin-starred training ground for celebrity chefs. Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fernley-Whittingstoll, and Theo Randall cut their teeth at River Café.

Rogers’ life has been full of drama and oddity from the start. He was born in Florence, Italy in 1933 to an Anglo-Italian “fairly pampered upper middle class”. His paternal grandfather was a dentist who immigrated from England. Young Richard – never Ricardo – was raised in the English language.

Faced with Mussolini and with the approach of war, the family moved to “smog and cold” London, where they lived in more modest conditions. He later recalls that it was “hell at first”.

His most famous and controversial creation, the Center Pompidou, is located in the capital of our old rivals

His most famous and controversial creation, the Center Pompidou, is located in the capital of our old rivals

Rogers, who has undiagnosed dyslexia, left school without A-levels. The meter didn’t even find his National Service.

Thanks to his ability to speak Italian, he was assigned to his mother’s town of Trieste, under British and American military rule, where he was able to meet his architect cousin Ernesto Rogers.

While on vacation at Ernesto’s office in Milan. Returning to the UK, Rogers applied to the Architectural Association for its diploma course.

Despite his lack of formal qualifications, he was accepted.

During his studies he met the university Sue Brumwell. They married in 1960 and soon after they left for America, where Rogers was awarded a Fulbright scholarship at Yale University. While studying there for his master’s degree, Rogers met another prominent British student of architecture named Norman Foster.

Mutual inspiration and short working relationships have had a profound impact on their profession and the urban landscape of the world.

When they returned to Britain, Rogers and Foster, along with Sue Rogers and Foster’s wife Wendy Cheesman, formed a company called Team 4. Although the partnership ended before the contract expired, an important path was set.

Rogers and Foster became key figures in the new British-led design school known as High-Tech Architecture. It has been called the last major architectural movement of the twentieth century.

In 1972, in partnership with young Italian architect Renzo Piano, who later designed The Shard, Rogers won a competition of 681 entries to design a new cultural center for Paris.

What became known as the Pompidou Center was completed in 1977. But long before that, the six-story, multicolored glass-and-steel leuthan had become the ire of traditionalists.

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Like the Parisian “stain”, the dome – renamed O2 Square – is now part of London’s landscape and is used by millions each year. Rogers hasn’t regretted it, even though he might be tough on other people’s projects

Less than a kilometer from Notre Dame, this was a prefabricated temple in a high-tech style inspired by industry, engineering and functionality.

The “Courage” was flipped from the inside out so that the air conditioning, electrical and water systems, and even the structural load were outside. A glass-enclosed escalator zigzag outside from ground level to rooftop.

The center houses the largest museum of modern art in Europe. But it was a work of art and a provocation in and of itself. Le Monde called it the “King Kong Architect”.

Rogers later said: “It is always difficult to get over the shock of a new one. All good architecture is modern for its time. Parisians have come to love the Pompidou – or at least accept it as an eccentric part of the landscape. After Pompidou, “everything changed” for Rogers professionally. He has already done so in his private life.

At a dinner party in 1969, he was introduced to Ruth Elias, a young American design student. They fell in love and divorced Sue, the mother of his three children. “The most painful thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said. In 1973, Rogers and Ruth married and had two sons, one of whom, Beau, died in 2011.

In 1986, Rogers handed over his second major project, the Lloyd's Building in London.  Like the Pompidou, it had the inside from the outside including 12 glass lifts, the first of its kind in the UK

In 1986, Rogers handed over his second major project, the Lloyd’s Building in London. Like the Pompidou, it had the inside from the outside including 12 glass lifts, the first of its kind in the UK

In 1986, Rogers handed over his second major project, the Lloyd’s Building in London. Like the Pompidou, it had an outside inside including 12 glass lifts, a first of its kind in the UK.

In 2011 it was given a Class A status, the smallest building in the UK to receive this award.

Among a number of iconic projects, Rogers designed the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg and Hall 5 at Heathrow.

He became a fellow Labor Party in 1997 and became a mentor to the Blairites. But his involvement as a creative force in what became the Millennium Dome Project began during the previous Conservative Party administration. The New Labor Party used the plan as a symbol of their political victory in the era of “Wonderful Britain”.

Rogers designed a 365 square meter fiberglass tent on the Greenwich Peninsula.

The structure was to host an exhibition; A mixture of performances and ideas by other artists and thinkers. Unfortunately, many were lame. Even worse is the grand opening that has been described as “one of the greatest PR disasters in history”.

The great and the good lined up for hours on the eve of the millennium and their way into the new year, waiting to bypass ill-prepared security. The world fell on the heads of those tied to the dome.

For Rogers, it was a reminder of the opening of the Pompidou Center. But like the Parisian ‘spot’, the dome – renamed O2 Square – is now part of London’s landscape and is used by millions each year. Rogers had no regrets, although he might have been tough on other people’s projects.

He hated the Fenchurch Building aka “Walkie Talkie” in London and lamented the traditional influence of Prince Charles. Nor has he apologized for his involvement in some of the world’s most expensive private housing projects, such as One Hyde Park, despite his left-wing views.

In September 2020, he announced that he would be stepping down from the practice he had founded 43 years ago. He said: Enlighten myself and leave them [his partners] straight ahead.’ His retirement was short. His legacy is deep.



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