Richard Rogers: high-tech's inside-out architect - architecture and design

Richard Rogers: high-tech's inside-out architect

We continue our high-tech architecture series with a profile of Richard Rogers, the architect of two of the movement's best-known inside-out buildings, Centre Pompidou and the Lloyd's building.
Inside-out is one of the most common ways of defining the buildings of Rogers ? or to use a term coined by Archigram founder Michael Webb, "Bowellism".
This was an enduring stylistic motif of high-tech architecture ? to express a building's services and allow pipes, elevators and structural members to be a visual element rather than hidden away in walls or concrete cores.
While often justified as a means of creating vast, flexible spaces, there was clearly a great aesthetic enjoyment being had here ? not to mention expensive maintenance costs. The Centre Pompidou is one of Richard Rogers defining projects. Photo courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
The two projects that define the career of Rogers remain the two most striking examples of this approach: the 1972 Centre Pompidou in Paris and the 1986 Lloyd's building. Both were incredibly lucky to actually be built given the opposition they received, standard fare for the early work of Rogers and fatal to some of the firm's other radical designs.
But if the historicism of Hopkins Architects or the sleek glass forms of Foster + Partners are considered dilutions of the original radical high-tech ethos, what defined the key works of Rogers' career was a refusal to compromise.
The Lloyd's building is an example of Rogers i...

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