Richard Rogers, one of Britain’s greatest living architects, has retired from the practice he founded 43 years ago, ending a career studded with modernist, hi-tech landmarks including the Lloyd’s building in London, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Millennium Dome, now the O2 arena.
Rogers, 87, who was given a peerage by Tony Blair, will have his name removed from the firm of Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners in the coming months as part of the practice’s constitution.
He told the Guardian he wished his partners, Graham Stirk and Ivan Harbour, the best and that now was the time to “let them go ahead”.
Rogers, who was born in Florence, Italy, and moved to the UK aged six, said he planned to remain in London, where he lives in a grandly converted Georgian terrace. He is married to the cook and writer Ruth Rogers, and has five grown-up children – three from a previous marriage to the architect Su Brumwell – and several grandchildren.
“I am going to retire in a short time,” he said. “I will enlighten myself and let them go ahead.”
News of his retirement emerged from a Companies House filing on Friday that announced his termination as a director of the limited liability partnership. He formally retired from the board of RSHP in June, which will be led by Stirk and Harbour with the support of nine other partners.
“Richard has been a huge inspiration to us all at RSHP and to the architectural profession, globally,” said Harbour, 58. “His humanity, integrity and generosity are reflected in the practice he founded, and which continues to be guided by his principles.”
Rogers has won several of world architecture’s top prizes including the Pritzker architecture prize in 2007, the Thomas Jefferson memorial foundation medal in 1999 and the Praemium Imperiale prize for architecture in 2000. His firm twice won the Royal Institute for British Architects’ Stirling prize awarded for the building of the year, for a terminal at Barajas airport in Madrid in 2006 and a Maggie’s cancer care centre in London in 2009.
He became a key political player during the New Labour era and was commissioned to draft a strategy to renew Britain’s towns and cities, which was largely adopted as policy in 2000 as the urban white paper.
Its ideas about building more densely in cities around transport nodes and reusing brownfield land for housing rather than building on open fields won considerable support, particularly from John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, with whom he had a strong relationship.
That same year Rogers became adviser to Ken Livingstone when he was elected mayor of London. He quit the role in 2009 after a clash with Boris Johnson, who took over in 2008.
The practice said in a statement that Rogers’ resignation has been planned since 2007, as part of a succession planning strategy established when the Richard Rogers Partnership, which he formed in 1977, became Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
He founded RRP after earlier collaborations with Norman Foster, Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheesman under the name Team Four, and with Renzo Piano, with whom he built the Pompidou Centre, the Parisian art centre that introduced the world to Rogers’ hi-tech vision of architecture that put service ducts, pipes and staircases on the outside of the building, often sprayed in vibrant colours.
The practice said: “Graham and Ivan are now supported by nine other partners, with five long-standing members of the practice being named partners in 2015. Together, they maintain the continuity and consistency of the philosophy and ethos which RSHP applies to all its work. They will continue to recognise and encourage new talent within the practice.”