Richard Rogers gained his Diploma from the Architectural Association, (AA) in 1959. In 1960 he married Su Brumwell and the two went to study at Yale University where he graduated with a master's degree. While studying at Yale, Richard met fellow architecture student Norman Foster, and with Wendy Cheesman, the four set up Team 4 in 1963.
By 1967, Team 4 had dissolved and Richard and Su formed their own practice, Richard + Su Rogers, with John Young, where they developed their ideas of prefabrication and structural simplicity with the conceptual Zip Up House and Wimbledon House, designed and built for Richard’s parents.
In 1971, Italian architect Renzo Piano joined the team and the practise became Piano + Rogers when they, and Gianfranco Franchini, won the design competition for the Pompidou Centre, alongside a team from Ove Arup that included Peter Rice and Lennart Grut.
Richard established the Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP) in 1977, with Marco Goldschmied, John Young, and later, Mike Davies. The team designed Lloyd’s of London and devised a constitution that enshrines principles about community, teamwork, equity, collaboration and social responsibility. In 2007 the practice became Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to reflect the vital contributions of Graham Stirk and Ivan Harbour. The practice has designed a wide range of building types including office, residential, transport, education, culture, leisure, retail, civic and healthcare and has garnered critical acclaim and awards with built projects across Europe, North America and Asia.
In 1995, Richard was the first architect invited to give the BBC Reith Lectures – a series entitled ‘Cities for a Small Planet’ – and in 1998 was appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, to chair the UK Government’s Urban Task Force on the state of English cities and their ability to provide 4 million new homes, as well as their potential for revitalisation. The Urban Task Force brought together academics, planners, developers, architects and politicians and its highly influential report, “Towards an Urban Renaissance”, was published in 1999. It was the first government report to advocate a reuse of city centres and derelict land rather than suburban sprawl.
During 1980s and 90s, Richard was an advisor to President François Mitterand’s Grands Projets programme in Paris, and from 2000 – 03 he advised the Mayor of Barcelona’s Urban Strategies Council. From 2001 to 2008 he was chief advisor on Architecture and Urbanism to the first Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In this role, Richard formed the Architecture and Urbanism Unit to promote the use of brownfield sites, public space enhancements and better masterplanning across the capital.
The idea of the piazza was Richard’s life-long passion. He believed that cities are made by the people that live in them, not by the buildings themselves, and it is the life between buildings that is important, “Cities are a stage where people perform, and buildings are the sets that frame the performance. A place for all”.
Richard was the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal in 1985 and winner of the 1999 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal. He was also winner of the 2000 Praemium Imperiale Prize for Architecture, the 2006 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement (La Biennale di Venezia) and the 2007 Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal. Richard was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1986. He was knighted in 1991 and became a member the House of Lords, as Lord Rogers of Riverside, in 1996. In 2008 he was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour, and in 2018 won the AIA Gold Medal.
Richard passed away in 2021.