Architect Richard Rogers has been announced as the AIA's 2019 Gold Medalist. Regarded as the AIA's highest honor, the Gold Medal distinguishes an individual architect or pair of architects for their lasting influence and significant contributions to the field. In recent years, the Gold Medal has been bestowed to James Stewart Polshek, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, Moshe Safdie, posthumously to Paul Revere Williams and Julia Morgan, and Thom Mayne.
Rogers was praised for his longtime dedication to our cities, the environment, and humanity. “He is the quintessential builder, committed to mastering the craft and technology of construction, harnessing it towards efficient buildings, and forging an expressive architectural language,” wrote Moshe Safdie in his support of Rogers’ nomination. “Before it was fashionable, he was an environmentalist, who recognized early in his career the challenges of energy and climate, developing innovative solutions.”
Born in Florence, Richard Rogers trained as an architect in London and then later at Yale University. One of his early and most notable projects, the Centre Pompidou — which he designed with Renzo Piano — embodies a signature theme of Rogers' work: keeping the focus on city life and its inhabitants. The Centre Pompidou's influential design turned museums into more accessible spaces for social and cultural exchange in the heart of cities.
In another example, Rogers' plan for the city of London following the 2012 Olympics is “a testament to his thoughtfulness, having survived the terms of two mayors with only minor modifications,” the AIA wrote in a statement. Through Rogers' guidance, his London-based firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners continues to integrate these ideals into their practice.
Rogers is no stranger to winning prestigious architecture accolades, having won the 2007 Pritzker Prize, the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2006 and 2009, and the Praemium Imperiale Medal in Architecture in 2000. He was also the RIBA Royal Gold Medalist of 1985.
“Richard Rogers is a friend, a companion of adventures and life,” wrote Renzo Piano in his support of Rogers’ nomination. “He also happens to be a great architect, and much more than that. He is a planner attracted by the complexity of cities and the fragility of earth; a humanist curious about everything (from art to music, people, communities, and food); an inexhaustible explorer of the world. And there is one more thing he could be: a poet.”
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