11 October 2017
Today (11 October), Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners celebrates 10 years since the practice officially changed its name to recognise the work of Graham Stirk and Ivan Harbour.
Previously known as the Richard Rogers Partnership, in the last ten years, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has built some of the most exciting and innovative projects in the firm’s history. It has won the Stirling Prize twice, for Barajas Airport in Madrid, and the Maggie’s West London Centre in London. More recently, Graham Stirk’s British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre has been shortlisted for the 2017 Stirling Prize, to be announced at the end of the month.
The past ten years has been a period of change and growth for the practice. In December 2015, London-based staff moved from their long-term headquarters at Thames Wharf in Hammersmith into the Leadenhall Building, the practice’s recently completed high-rise office building in the City of London. The building won the BCO award for best workplace in 2016, and last week was awarded the top prize at the Structural Steel Design Awards.
The new studio on the 14th floor, complete with its signature green carpet, has facilitated a new era of collaborative working, with a completely open, flexible floor plan. A large central space used for meetings, talks, events, and workshops, forms the heart of the new office, and the modelshop, kitchen, and support teams are now in the same space as the architectural teams, helping to promote professional collaboration and friendships alike.
The practice maintains its long-held ethical and socially responsible ethos, with all staff receiving a share of the practice’s profits, and the chance to donate money to a charity of their choice. Careful consideration is also given to the staff’s working conditions, and on how to make working life as an architect compatible with family commitments.
Projects have gone from strength to strength, spanning the globe: in Sydney, 8 Chifley and International Towers; in Spain, Stirling Prize winner Barajas Airport and nominee Bodegas Protos; in DC, 300 New Jersey Avenue; in Mexico, Torre BBVA; in Taiwan, Taoyuan Airport; and in Switzerland, Geneva Airport.
The practice has also completed more than a dozen projects in London, ranging in size from the vast Heathrow Terminal 5 to the finely crafted Berkeley Hotel Entrance. Housing projects have spanned the capital; from Stirling Prize-nominated Neo Bankside at Southbank, Merano on the Albert Embankment, and Riverlight at Nine Elms, to the innovative modular social housing constructed at Y:Cube and PLACE/Ladywell in south London.
Currently, the practice is working on around twenty projects, including International Quarter London in Stratford, the Macallan Distillery in Speyside, and Lyon Airport.
The practice will celebrate with staff and close friends tonight at a party hosted at the Design Museum. A short film has also been made for the practice by Pentagram.
Speaking today, Richard Rogers said: “Since the beginning of the practice some 50 years ago, we have always upheld the principles of social responsibility and collaboration - and the constitution is a clear indication of these beliefs. I am proud of what we have achieved together over the last ten years. Graham Stirk, Ivan Harbour and my partners represent the next generation of RSHP.”
Graham Stirk said: “The last ten years have contained many personal career highlights for me. It’s not often in life that you get the chance to move your office into a building you designed… over the road from the first building you ever worked on as an architect.
“Working on such a variety of projects has also been inspiring. Buildings like Bodegas Protos winery, the British Museum World Conservation and Exhibition Centre, and Neo Bankside housing all require such different approaches but I think they all demonstrate the thought process behind our vocabulary. That is the synergy of architectural and structural components and the clarity of organisation and form which are expressed uniquely in all these individual projects.”
Ivan Harbour said: “The last ten years have been arguably the most diverse we have experienced as a practice. We have worked at the extremes of the scales, from Maggie’s Cancer Centre in London to the Barangaroo masterplan and International Towers in Sydney. We have worked across the world, from Lewisham to the City of Sydney, and we have engaged in a greater variety of project types than ever before, from housing homeless families to creating new city districts.
“These challenges have evolved our architecture and I have no doubt they will continue to do so over the coming 10 years.”