British architect Richard Rogers, known for designing some of the world’s most famous buildings, 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”, “passed away quietly” on Saturday night, Matthew Freud of communications agency Freud told the Press Association.
His son Roo Rogers also confirmed his death to the New York Times, but did not give the cause.
The Italian-born architect has won a series of awards for his designs, including the 2007 Pritzker Prize, and is one of the pioneers of the “high-tech” architecture movement, characterized by structures incorporating industrial materials. such as glass and steel.
He is the co-creator of the Center Pompidou in 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 international airport terminals at Madrid and Heathrow in London.
Born in Florence in 1933, his father was a doctor, his mother a former pupil of the famous Irish writer James Joyce. The family fled the Mussolini dictatorship and moved to England in 1938.
London was miserable. The family had been comfortably middle-class in Italy, but the move had reduced them to a one-room apartment that operated with a coin mechanism for heating.
“Life had gone from color to black and white,” Rogers recalled in his 2017 autobiography “A Place for all People”.
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 Guardian in 2017.
He was unhappy, he said in his autobiography, “falling asleep crying every night – years of unhappiness.”
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 his fellow British architect Norman 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.
“The two cannot be tried separately,” he told The Guardian in 2017.
“The Twin Towers in New York, for example. They weren’t tall buildings, but the space between them was.