Richard Rogers, Architect Lord of Riverside

b. 1933

Smiling white-haired white man in blue shirt and dark jacket
British architect Richard Rogers in 2009. Photo by Barry Lewis, In Pictures Ltd. / Corbis Entertainment / Getty Images (cropped)

British architect Richard Rogers has designed some of the most important buildings of the modern era. Beginning with the Parisian Centre Pompidou, his building designs have been characterized as being "inside out," with facades that look more like working mechanical rooms. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, becoming Lord Rogers of Riverside, but in the US Rogers is best known for rebuilding Lower Manhattan after 9/11/01.

His 3 World Trade Center was one of the last towers to be realized.


Born: July 23, 1933 in Florence, Italy

Education of Richard Rogers:

  • Architecture Association School in London
  • Pursued a masters degree in architecture at Yale University on a Fulbright Scholarship


Richard Rogers' father studied medicine and hoped that Richard would pursue a career in dentistry. Richard's mother was interested in modern design and encouraged her son's interest in the visual arts. A cousin, Ernesto Rogers, was one of Italy's prominent architects.

As war broke out in Europe, the Rogers family moved back to England where Richard Rogers attended public schools. He was dyslexic and did not do well. Rogers had a run-in with the law, entered the National Service, became inspired by the work of his relative, Ernesto Rogers, and ultimately decided to enter London's Architectural Association school.

Richard Rogers' Partnerships:

  • Worked for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in the USA
  • Returned to England and formed Team 4 architectural practice with Norman Foster, Wendy Cheeseman, and Rogers' wife Su Brumwell.
  • Partnership with Renzo Piano, established 1971, dissolved in 1978
  • Richard Rogers Partnership, established 1978

Important Buildings by Richard Rogers:

Awards and Honers:

Richard Rogers has won numerous awards and honors, including

  • 2007: Pritzker Architecture Prize
  • 2006: Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
  • 1996: Life Baron of the United Kingdom
  • 1991: Knighted Lord Rogers of Riverside
  • 1989: Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters
  • 1985: The Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Quote from Richard Rogers:

"Other societies have faced extinction — some, like the Easter Islanders of the Pacific, the Harappa civilization of the Indus Valley, the Teotihuacan in pre-Columbian America, due to ecological disasters of their own making. Historically, societies unable to solve their environmental crises have either migrated or become extinct. The vital difference today is that the scale of our crisis is no longer regional but global: it involves all of humanity and the entire planet."
- From Cities for a Small Planet, BBC Reith Lectures

People Associated with Richard Rogers:

  • Renzo Piano
  • Sir Norman Foster
  • Mies van der Rohe
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • First wife: Susan (Su) Brumwell, daughter of Marcus Brumwell who headed the Design Research Unit (DRU), which was a moving force in the Festival of Britain.
  • Second wife: the former Ruth Elias of Woodstock, New York and Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Children: Three sons, Ben, Zad, and Ab, from his first marriage. Two sons, Roo and Bo, from his marriage to Ruth.

More About Richard Rogers:

"Rogers combines his love of architecture with a profound knowledge of building materials and techniques. His fascination with technology is not merely for artistic effect, but more importantly, it is a clear echo of a building's program and a means to make architecture more productive for those it serves. His championing of energy efficiency and sustainability has had a lasting effect on the profession."
- Citation from the Pritzker Jury

"Born in Florence, Italy, and trained as an architect in London, at the Architectural Association, and later, in the United States at Yale University, Rogers has an outlook as urbane and expansive as his upbringing. In his writings, through his role as advisor to policy making groups, as well as his large-scale planning work, Rogers is a champion of urban life and believes in the potential of the city to be a catalyst for social change."
- Thomas J. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation

"Throughout his distinguished career of more than forty years, Richard Rogers has consistently pursued the highest goals for architecture. Key Rogers projects already represent defining moments in the history of contemporary architecture.

"The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1971-1977), designed in partnership with Renzo Piano, revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city.

"Lloyd's of London in the City of London (1978-1986), another landmark of late 20th century design, established Richard Rogers' reputation as a master not only of the large urban building, but also of his own brand of architectural expressionism.

As these buildings and other subsequent projects, such as the recently completed and acclaimed Terminal 4, Barajas Airport in Madrid (1997- 2005) demonstrate, a unique interpretation of the Modern Movement's fascination with the building as machine, an interest in architectural clarity and transparency, the integration of public and private spaces, and a commitment to flexible floor plans that respond to the ever-changing demands of users, are recurring themes in his work."

- Lord Palumbo, chair of the Pritzker Prize jury