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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Jan-18 > Behind the faç ade

Behind the faç ade

Richard Rogers’s buildings like to let it all hang out. But his new memoir isn’t quite as revealing, says Gavin Stamp
A Place for All People: Life, Architecture and the Fair Society by Richard Rogers with Richard Brown (Canongate, £30)

On the front cover of this autobiographycum- polemic, Richard Rogers is depicted, arms folded, gazing out of the frame with half-closed eyes, looking visionary. “This is an essential book for anyone interested in our human future”, writes the sculptor Antony Gormley on the bright-pink back of the dust-jacket. Inside, many of the pages are bright yellow. Perhaps it is a mercy that the cover photograph is black and white, for the author is given to wearing trademark bright lime-green shirts enhanced by orange braces. “If a colour is beautiful”, he explains, “it will go with another beautiful colour.”

Rogers, elevated to Lord Rogers of Riverside in 1996, is perhaps the best known living British architect. Indeed, along with his former professional partner, Norman Foster, otherwise known as Baron Foster of Thames Bank, he was the first of the “starchitects”, the growth of the cult of celebrity coinciding with the huge success of their careers as creators of striking “high-tech” buildings. Along with Renzo Piano and a team of young and enthusiastic designers and engineers, Rogers won the competition for the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1971. His practice went on to design the new building for Lloyd’s of London, which opened in 1986. Important recent commissions include those for the Bordeaux Law Courts, Terminal 4 at Barajas Airport in Madrid and Terminal 5 at Heathrow. The Richard Rogers Partnership is now Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and was responsible for, among other buildings, the excellent new cancer centre at Guy’s Hospital.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s January 2018 issue: Five writers attempt to plot the impending advances in shopping, politics, sex, food and computing through 2018. James Plunkett looks at shopping and explains how personalised prices will hand even more power to the big companies; Theo Bertram outlines why political volatility is here to stay and what it means for us; Kate Devlin argues that sex robots are only a part of the impending sexual revolution; Stephanie Boland outlines why we’ll all end up eating lab grown food; and Jay Elwes explains the next steps in our computing quantum leap. Elsewhere in the issue: Dani Rodrik uncovers the truth behind the great globalisation lie—there were always going to be losers, Iona Craig delves into the war in Yemen—the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, Chris Tilbury explains why Britain urgently needs a plan for its failing prisons