CGBC Annual Lecture: Richard Rogers

On Tuesday, October 18, the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) welcomed Richard Rogers as the speaker for its second annual lecture, a new highlight of Harvard GSD’s critically acclaimed speaker series. “I’m talking very much less about the technology of sustainability, but rather the philosophy of sustainability,” Lord Rogers began his talk, referencing his interest in analyzing sustainability as imperative to the social experience of buildings. “I’m talking more about the human element of sustainability,” he continued, observing Rogers’ lifelong pursuit of sustainability in buildings and cities, which is often only described in scientific energy terms, but that he sees as essential to culture.

As a preface to his hour-long talk, Rogers emphasized his focus on the “democratization of architecture and cities,” which he sees as essential to citizenship, society and sustainability. Noting that a civic sense of architecture and planning is integral to sustainability, he acknowledged prizing public space over private space, while stressing that public space allows for an open and free interaction of cultures and people. Rogers is known for his modernist high-tech style buildings that celebrate society, but in the course of the talk, he made evident his interest in enhancing “sustainability by using more flexible buildings,” discussing the ability of buildings and cities to adapt to changing times as key to resilience.

In this talk he discussed several buildings and projects, many completed with his award-winning firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, including the world famous Pompidou Centre, a popular high-tech style building in Paris; public projects, including designs for the National Assembly of Wales that sought to remake government buildings; Lloyd’s of London, which balanced technical efficiency with architectural expressiveness; and the Wimbledon House, which was originally commissioned by Rogers’ parents and was recently donated to the GSD for the Richard Rogers Fellowship.

Watch Rogers’ Lecture: