Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

 
Address   Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
The Leadenhall Building
122 Leadenhall Street
LONDON
EC3V 4AB
United Kingdom 
 
   020 7385 1235   
   020 7385 8409   
Email   hannah.c@rsh-p.com  
Website   www.rsh-p.com 
Contact   Mrs Joanna Pencakowski 

 Further information >>
 
1: Project NameBarajas International Airport
Dates: 1997 - 2006
Location: Madrid 
Gross Area: More than 500 000 sqm 
Sectors:
Transportation - Air
 
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Key Services:
Adjudication,  Design & Build,  Facade Engineering,  Full Architectural Service,  Urban Planning & Design
 
Awards:
RIBA Europe
AIA/UK excellence in design
Description:
Won in competition in 1996 by a consortium of RRP with the Spanish practice Estudio Lamela and the engineering companies Initec and TPS, the Barajas project is the largest so far undertaken by the practice – more than 1 million m² of buildings with a budget of around one billion Euros. The project is remarkable, however, not just in terms of scale but equally for the rapidity of its realisation (around four years from the start on site in 2000). The use of a kit of parts of standard components has been significant in this respect, suggesting a link to the Pompidou Centre and other early RRP projects. The new terminal and satellite (a second is a long-term possibility) are designed to handle up to 35 million passengers annually, establishing Madrid as a major European hub, and are located some distance to the north-west of the existing terminal complex at Barajas. Covered car parking and a new rail station with a fast connection to central Madrid form part of the project. Developing some of the ideas that emerged from the Terminal 5 Heathrow project (begun in 1989), the terminal at Barajas is a model of legibility, with a clear progression of spaces for departing and arriving travellers. The building’s modular design creates a repeating sequence of waves formed by vast wings of prefabricated steel. Supported on central ‘trees’, the great roof is kept free of services and punctuated by roof lights providing carefully controlled natural light throughout the upper (departures) level of the terminal. Light-filled "canyons" divide the series of parallel bars of space that denote the various stages of transit – from point of arrival, through check-in and passport and security controls to departure lounges and, finally, to the aircraft. The canyons channel daylight down to the lower levels of the building and are significant too as directional markers. They also form a focus for retail activities, containing potential ‘sprawl’ across the internal space. In addition, the daylight flooding into the building significantly reduces the need for artificial lighting – this is a key component of the environmental strategy for the building. The sheer glazed façade is hung from the roof on a series of tensioned trusses with high-performance glass fixed on stainless steel rods. The façade is complemented with externally hung shading panels made up of steel tubes arranged to block out the sun but allow views out across the apron. Due to the extreme heat of a typical Spanish summer, the enclosed spaces of the terminal and satellite need to be fully air-conditioned, using a low energy displacement ventilation system. Service installations are located around the perimeter of the concrete floor slabs supplemented by high level air supply in intensely used areas such as the check-in desks. A simple palette of materials and a determination to avoid complex detailing reinforces the direct and forceful character of the architecture. Internally, the heavily-insulated roof is clad in bamboo strips, which give it a smooth and seamless appearance. Floors are generally of natural stone. In contrast, the great ‘trees’ are painted to create a kilometer-long vista of graduated colour. The lower levels of the building, robustly constructed in concrete, house baggage handling, storage and plant areas and contrast strikingly with the lightweight transparency of the passenger areas above. This is a flexible shed in the best RRP tradition, but it has an element of the sublime that expresses the continuing romance of flight, even in an age of mass travel.
 
2: Project NameTerminal 5 Heathrow
Dates: 1989 - 2008
Location: Hounslow 
Gross Area: More than 500 000 sqm 
Sectors:
Transportation - Air
 
Key Services:
Design & Build,  Full Architectural Service
 
Description:
The practice won the competition for a fifth terminal at Heathrow - still Europe's busiest airport - in 1989. Phase 1, including the core terminal building and the first satellite, began on site late in 2002 and is scheduled for completion in 2008. The site for Terminal 5 is west of the existing complex of terminals at Heathrow (which developed as a civil airport from 1946 onwards), on the site of a former sewage plant. Objections to the further development of the airport triggered a lengthy planning inquiry, with government approval for the project finally given late in 2001. Terminal 5 is intended to reinforce Heathrow's position as Europe's principal intercontinental hub. Primarily used by British Airways, it will form a gateway to Britain and to Europe for travellers from across the globe. When completed, the core terminal building will be Europe’s largest single-span building, measuring a staggering 45 metres high, 396 metres long and 176 metres wide. With a total floor space of 75,000 sq.m - the equivalent of 50 football pitches - the building will contain 150,000 tonnes of steel reinforcement, 90,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1.2 million m3 of concrete. The core terminal has 18 aircraft stands and will be linked by underground people movers to two satellites (each 85,000 sq.m. in area) which together have a further 32 stands. Public transport connections to the new terminal area include an extension of the mainline Heathrow Express link, London Underground station and coach/bus station. Parking is provided for 5,000 cars, though it is anticipated that the majority of the 36 million passengers using Terminal 5 annually will make use of public transport. The scheme has been designed to utilise modularised and standardised components as far as possible, reducing cost and construction time. Arrivals and departures are concentrated on two levels in the core building, with services, including baggage handling (for up to 125,000 items per day) below. (In the original competition scheme, arriving and departing passengers were handled on a single level, but planning constraints, which reduced the overall size of the site, necessitated a major redesign exercise.) The key architectural idea is that of a sweeping "wave" roof, a "magic carpet" (as Rogers describes it) with large spans, supported by 22 pairs of giant structural steel "trees", that maximise flexibility, visibility and legibility, speeding the processing of large volumes of passengers. This form of roof is one of several curvaceous glazed roofs featured in RRP projects during the 1990s - the unbuilt scheme for London's South Bank Centre being a notable example. The T5 project reflects the practice’s perennial interest in creating "people's places", in this instance a low-energy, extensively day-lit covered space, a calm and orderly prelude to the sometimes stressful experience of modern travel. Terminal 5 promises to be one of the most striking of the new generation of airport buildings and a first step, perhaps, to the comprehensive renewal of Heathrow.
 
3: Project NameLloyd's Register of Shipping
Dates: 1995 - 2000
Location: London 
Gross Area: 10 000 to 49 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Offices - Owner Occupied
 
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Key Services:
Design & Build,  Energy / Environmental Expertise,  Full Architectural Service
 
Awards:
Civic Trust Award
World Architecture Award for Best Commercial Building
Concrete Society Certificate of Excellence
Aluminium Imagination Awards Commendation
Description:
Lloyd's Register of Shipping (an organisation totally separate from that of Lloyd's of London) is an old-established City institution, its Fenchurch Street headquarters the centre of a worldwide operation. The growth of the business during the 1980s and the planning constraints on developing the congested Fenchurch Street site made Lloyd's Register consider moving out of London. In 1993, RRP was commissioned to prepare proposals for developing a greenbelt site at Liphook. The Liphook scheme, featuring low-rise, naturally ventilated pavilions sunk into a mature landscape park, marked a significant phase in RRP’s developing interest in low-energy, sustainable design. The scheme was, however, abandoned in the face of planning objections and in 1995 Lloyd's Register commissioned RRP to prepare proposals for its City site. Set within a conservation area, access to the headquarters is through a landscaped churchyard. The site is largely surrounded by existing buildings, including 71 Fenchurch St, constructed for LRS in 1901. This Grade II listed building has been incorporated into the new headquarters and extensively restored. The original building retains a general committee room, chairman’s office and smoking room, and now includes a conference suite with a 50-seat auditorium. The new building comprises fourteen stories of office space and two basements. The brief called for a net lettable area of 260,000 square feet. The floorplates of the new building taper in response to the awkward geometry of the site, creating a fan-shaped grid composed of vaults formed around two dramatic atria spaces. This design allows daylight penetration and provides thermal buffers between the offices and the external environment. The building steps up from 6 levels to 14 levels within the centre of the site. Service cores are expressed as towers - two primary circulation cores face the churchyard, while secondary cores to the rear house toilets, good lifts and staircases, as well as main services risers. Highly transparent glazing offers instant legibility – people using the fully glazed wall-climber lifts and stairs animate the building’s exterior. The main glazed façade is designed to maximise daylight while limiting solar heat gains in summer and heat losses in winter. In addition to double glazing, the east and west faades feature panels of motorised louvres which control solar energy ingress. Activated by photo-cells mounted at roof level, when the louvres are angled at 45 the façade system reduces solar heat gain by 90%. Working in conjunction with the louvred faades, chilled beams incorporating sprinklers, lighting and a PA system cool the air in the office space. Treated fresh air is supplied through a floor plenum and extracted at high level. The building’s energy efficiency means a reduction of CO emissions by 33% and of costs by 40% when compared with those of a conventionally air-conditioned building.
 
4: Project NameMillennium Experience, Greenwich
Dates: 1996 - 1999
Location: Greenwich 
Gross Area: 100 000 to 499 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Community Participation,  Culture & Entertainment - Entertainment Complexes,  Government - Other Departments,  Urban Planning & Design
 
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Key Services:
Design & Build,  Energy / Environmental Expertise,  Full Architectural Service
 
Awards:
RIBA Award
Civic Trust Award Commendation
European Structural Steel Award
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
Description:
Commissioned to mark the beginning of the new Millennium, the Millennium Dome was intended as a celebratory, iconic, non-hierarchical structure offering a vast, flexible space. Although a high-profile project in its own right, the building also formed a key element of the masterplan by RRP for the future development of the entire Greenwich Peninsula. The Dome attracted intense media coverage and generated more political and public debate than any other British building of the last 100 years. For RRP, the project was a resounding success - the building itself was remarkably inexpensive (£43 million for groundworks, perimeter wall, masts, cable net structure and the roof fabric) and the practice devised a non-adversarial procurement route involving standardized components that delivered the building within fifteen months and under budget. Its content, however, was altogether less successful and was savaged by the press. Mike Davies, project Director, and Gary Withers of ‘Imagination’ together plotted the projection of the comets and stars, dawns and dusks onto the Dome’s surface prior to its detailed structural rationalisation. For Davies, an enthusiastic astronomer, the idea of time was uppermost in his mind - the 12 hours, the 12 months, and the 12 constellations of the sky which measure time are all integral to the original concept. Indeed the 12 towers which were intended to be perceived as great arms, out-stretched in celebration. Designed in association with engineers Buro Happold, the key objectives were lightness, economy and speed of construction. The Dome is firmly rooted in the early work of the practice, in particular Inmos, Fleetguard, Nantes, the Dome which formed part of the Royal Docks masterplan and the Autosalon at Massy, all of which are assisted span structures. The structure solved with great elegance the problem of how to enclose and protect the separate exhibition ‘zones’ from the vagaries of the British climate. Providing 100,000 m² of enclosed space (2.2 million cubic metres), the structure is 320 m in diameter, with a circumference of one kilometre and a maximum height of 50 m. The Dome is suspended from a series of twelve 100m steel masts, held in place by more than 70km of high strength steel cable which in turn support the Teflon-coated glass fibre roof. Although more than 6 million people visited the attraction during 2000, today it stands empty, its internal elements – which accounted for most of the total project cost – destroyed. There are plans to re-open the venue as a sports and entertainment complex in 2005.
 
5: Project NameOffices for Daimler Benz
Dates: 1993 - 1999
Location: Potsdamer Platz 
Gross Area: 50 000 to 99 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Offices - Developer
 
Key Services:
Design & Build,  Energy / Environmental Expertise,  Full Architectural Service
 
Awards:
RIBA Award for Buildings in Europe
Description:
The three buildings designed by RRP for Daimler Chrysler on Berlin's Linkstraße form part of the the Potsdamer Platz masterplan by Renzo Piano. B8 is predominantly residential, with retail areas on the ground, first and second floors. In the original masterplan the three buildings are shown as closed blocks measuring c. 50 m square, but the RRP design opens up the south-east side of the blocks facing the park. This building form allows light to penetrate into the courtyard, atrium and internal spaces, as well as providing all flats with unobstructed views out over the park. The ratio of glazing areas to solid wall construction is determined by the orientation and analysis of heat losses and solar gains. Whereas the north-east and north-west façades have comparatively little glazing in order to minimise heat loss during the winter months, the south-west and south-east elevations is generously glazed, with living areas opening onto the garden courtyard. Conservatories or ‘winter gardens’ adjacent to these living areas maximise the passive use of solar energy. The ‘winter gardens’ act as direct solar gain spaces and buffer zones, with pre-heated air used to ventilate or warm the internal accommodation space in winter. Sun shading provided by aluminium louvres on sliding tracks prevents overheating in summer. The double-height penthouses are fully glazed to the courtyard side. The glazing system is supported by a water-filled steel structure which acts as a radiator during the winter. Electronically operated sun-shading devices and opening windows minimise solar gain and maximise natural ventilation during the summer.
 
6: Project NameLaw Courts, Bordeaux
Dates: 1992 - 1998
Location: Bordeaux 
Gross Area: 10 000 to 49 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Civic Building - General,  Government - Other Departments
 
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Key Services:
Design & Build,  Full Architectural Service
 
Description:
In 1992 Richard Rogers Partnership won the international competition to design new law courts for the historic city of Bordeaux. The team designed a building that would, through its feeling of transparency and openness, create a positive perception of the accessibility of the French judicial system, whilst also incorporating significant sections of the medieval city wall and towers. This is one of the most significant projects by RRP in recent years and marks a distinct phase in the design philosophy of the practice. While respecting the historic setting and recognising the civic significance of the new building, the practice was anxious to produce a design that was not overly deferential – the intention was to design a simple box, like Beaubourg, that clearly reveals its function and organisation. The brief was complex, requiring complete separation of public and judicial circulation patterns - by pulling the building into its constituent parts, the resulting transparency was intended to encourage a sense of orientation, rendering an historically imposing institution more open and accessible. The result is a powerful conjunction of clear formal concerns that ensures that justice is seen to be done. Key elements of the design are the creation of public space and integration with the existing urban landscape – the function of the building is legible to all, both from within and without. Public entry to the building is facilitated without pomp, via a flight of stairs placed to the side. The great Salle des Pas Perdus is the core of the building, where lawyers, their clients and the public meet and converse. The seven courtroom ‘pods’ are clad in cedar wood, raised on pilotis above the limestone plinth within a great glass curtain wall under an undulating copper roof. Members of the public can look directly down the atrium ‘spine’ separating the courtrooms from the administrative block behind – an acoustic buffer screening the internal environment from the busy street outside. The administrative offices are reached by bridges spanning the atrium and the clarity of the plan ensures that different routes across the atrium are maintained for both public and magistrates – emphasising function whilst ensuring sufficient levels of security. A new restaurant and restored medieval tower provide a dining space for the judges and magistrates. With its use of irregular forms and natural materials, the building successfully complements its sensitive environs, including a section of the city’s medieval wall and the great gothic cathedral opposite. The longstanding themes of the practice – environmentally-conscious design, clarity/transparency, expression of the tectonics of construction – have all at various times assumed greater or lesser importance. In the case of Bordeaux, the practice has revisited the issue of services, capitalising on the significant advances in ‘green’ technology. The emphasis is on effective passive control systems: the ‘containers’ beneath an undulating roof and the fenestration systems (manually-operated ‘brise soleils’ along the western façade). The flask-like volumes of the courtrooms allow daylight deep into the internal spaces and, through their great height, ensure temperature control through stratification. Their form was continually refined through three-dimensional modelling so as to be justifiable on geometric, technical and constructional grounds – that said, there is a certain serendipity (given the geographical area) in their similarity to wine-flasks. By optimising all practical considerations, the design solution for the courtrooms is appropriate aesthetically, socially and iconographically. The great glazed box wrapping around the chambers, with its sun-screening and ventilation systems incorporated within the roof, functions as a ‘breathing’ container. In addition, the podium and offices are built in heavyweight concrete construction – resulting in an effective passive heat control system. The high-tech aesthetic of the building places great emphasis on assemblage – how the distinct parts fit together, with particular attention paid to the junctions of elements which have been attenuated and honed. Highly modelled, these junctions take on a sculptural quality with every nut and bolt carefully considered and organised. Nothing is left to chance, everything is minutely positioned, aligned and individually designed. The intention is an organic completeness established throughout the entire building - perhaps a subconscious reference to the Centre Pompidou, the building which marked the beginnings of the Richard Rogers Partnership.
 
7: Project NameCourt of Human Rights, Strasbourg
Dates: 1989 - 1995
Location: Strasbourg 
Gross Area: 10 000 to 49 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Civic Building - Civic Centres,  Government - Other Departments,  Offices - General
 
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Key Services:
Full Architectural Service
 
Description:
The Strasbourg court is a key building in the history of RRP and one of the few landmarks which provide a credible architectural image for the new Europe. The site is away from the historic centre of the city but close to the river. RRP aimed to create a symbolic landmark but not a monument: the nature of the Court’s business implies that its premises should be anything but intimidating or fortress-like. Rather it should be welcoming and humane, while preserving an appropriate dignity. Protecting and enhancing the quality of the site was another prime objective, while economy of running and a ‘natural’ environment were almost equally important. The basic diagram of the scheme was tested to the limits during the design process – the collapse of the communist bloc greatly increased the European ‘family’: the building’s office provision had to grow by some 50 per cent and the public spaces by 25 per cent. The two main departments of the European court, the Court itself and the Commission, occupy two circular chambers, clad in stainless steel, at the head of the building. The entrance hall is a classic RRP interior, light-filled and with fine views out over the river. The ‘tail’ of the building divided into two parts, contains offices and administration and the judge’s chambers. Functions are clearly legible. Only the main public spaces, focussing on a stone-paved rotunda, are air-conditioned (using an economical heat-exchange system). The remainder of the building relies on natural ventilation (and light) and opening windows – marking a new era in the practice’s work. Façades provide for a high degree of planting: greenery is now well established and spills down from the roofs. The building is a powerful and highly rational expression of the function it serves but is imbued too with a Mendelsohnian streak of romantic expressionism.
 
8: Project NameChannel 4 Television HQ
Dates: 1991 - 1994
Location: London 
Gross Area: 10 000 to 49 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Culture & Entertainment -Television & Radio,  Offices - Owner Occupied
 
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Key Services:
Design for Special Needs,  Full Architectural Service
 
Awards:
Royal Fine Art Commission Award
RIBA Regional Award
BBC Design Awards Finalist
Description:
The Channel 4 headquarters building occupies a prominent corner plot near Victoria Station, and comprises c. 15,000 m„c of headquarters, broadcasting suites and a studio, an underground car park and a landscaped garden square. The building, clad in pewter-coated powder-grey aluminium and glass, occupies the northern and western sides of the site. Residential developers, using their own architects, built the apartment blocks that form the southern and eastern edges of the site. The two four-storey wings contain office space accommodating up to 600 staff and are arranged in an L-shape, addressing the corner of the street with a curved connecting space framed by two ¡¥satellite towers¡¦. To the left are four conference rooms stacked one on top of the other, and to the right lifts, boiler flues, and chiller plant, topped by transmission antennae. The entrance, through a dramatic concave suspended glazed wall, is the predominant feature of the scheme. A stepped ramp leads from the street over a glass bridge spanning the roof-light of the foyer/cinema complex below. Beyond the reception area a restaurant fills the curve with views over the garden. A sweeping roof-top terrace extends from the top-level board room. The clients were looking for a scheme which expressed the character of their operations ¡V innovative, socially aware and willing to take risks. The building, admirably expresses the perceived identity of the organization while reflecting civic and contextual values which are central to Rogers¡¦ urban architecture.
 
9: Project NameLloyd's of London
Dates: 1978 - 1986
Location: London 
Gross Area: 5 000 to 9 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Banks & Financial Institutions,  Offices - Owner Occupied
 
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Key Services:
Design & Build,  Full Architectural Service
 
Awards:
RIBA Regional Award
Civic Trust Award
Financial Times 'Architecture at Work' Award
Concrete Society Commendation
RIBA Regional Awards
RIBA Awards
Eternit 8th International Prize Architecture Special Mention
Description:
Lloyd’s of London is the world’s greatest insurance market – a true market where insurance, rather than tangible goods, is traded. The competition for a new Lloyd’s was won on the basis not of an architectural proposal but of a convincing strategy for the future of this key City institution. Lloyd’s had moved the ‘Room’ – the centre of dealing operations – twice in 50 years and wanted a building which would provide for its needs well into the next century. It was also imperative that the members of Lloyd’s could continue their operations unhindered during the rebuilding operation, which almost inevitably, involved the demolition and replacement of the existing 1928 building. RRP proposed a building where the Room could expand (or contract), according to the needs of the market, by means of a series of galleries around a central space, with escalators and lifts providing easy access between floors. To maximise the usable space in the building, the practice banished the services to the perimeter. Servicing includes a high degree of air conditioning reflecting the large population, intensive use of computers and the need to exclude noise. Initially, it was proposed to construct Lloyd’s, like the Pompidou Centre, in a steel frame but fire safety requirements made this impossible and concrete was used. The building was extensively clad in stainless steel. As the architectural form of the building evolved, particular attention was paid to its impact on the surrounding area and especially on the listed 19th-century Leadenhall Market, a structure which Rogers held in high regard. Instead of the great rectangle of Pompidou, Lloyd’s became a complex grouping of towers, almost Gothic in feeling – an effect further enhanced when the upgrading of services meant the growth of the plant-room towers. Lloyd’s brought together the inspirations which had underlain RRP’s architecture from the beginning. The plan was derived from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building, via Louis Kahn, while the look of the building was Futurist. The internal atrium, staggering in its scale and verticality, owed something to Paxton’s Crystal Palace, a lost monument Rogers had venerated as one of the first modern buildings. The use of opaque glass, producing a subdued light, harked back to Pierre Chareau’ s Maison de Verre in Paris, which Rogers had discovered while a student. The accretive, ad hoc quality of the building was obviously prefigured in Pompidou but is even more determined and uncompromising at Lloyd’s – what had been a visionary dream in the 1960s had come to reality, and at the heart of the supposedly reactionary City of London. A failure of nerve on the part of Lloyd’s management led to some compromises in the internal fit-out – the Lloyd’s chairman now presides from a pseudo-Georgian office – but the ‘boxes’ where the insurance business is conducted are a happy reworking of the traditional arrangement. A further compromise reduced the degree of public space in the project – public lobbies of the Manhattan sort are alien to British traditions. Lloyd’s is one of the great architectural achievements of the 1980s, one of the buildings which confirmed Rogers’ position in the front rank of British (and indeed international) architects. By the time of its completion, Post Modernism and Classicism were growing influences on the architectural scene in Britain and radical designs were suppressed, not least in the City. Yet Lloyd’s has weathered a long period of design and construction to emerge as one of the greatest modern British buildings, one which balances technical efficiency with architectural expressiveness to produce an effect which must be called highly romantic and judged a very positive addition to the London skyline. Lloyd’s has recast the image of modern architecture in Britain.
 
10: Project NameCentre Pompidou
Dates: 1971 - 1977
Location: Paris 
Gross Area: 100 000 to 499 999 sqm 
Sectors:
Culture & Entertainment - Art Galleries,  Culture & Entertainment - Libraries,  Culture & Entertainment - Museums
 
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Key Services:
Design & Build,  Full Architectural Service
 
Awards:
International Union of Architects August Perret Prize
Description:
Designed in partnership with Renzo Piano, the Pompidou Centre was the building which brought Richard Rogers international fame. The scheme (won in competition) brought together the themes – skin and structure, technology and flexibility, movement and anti-monumentalism – which have characterised Rogers’ architecture from the mid 1960s. The architects envisaged their building as a cross between ‘an information-oriented computerized Times Square and the British Museum’, a democratic place for all people, all ages and all creeds, simultaneously instant and solemn, and the centrepiece of a regenerated quarter of the city. It was to be ‘a giant climbing frame’, the antithesis of existing cultural monuments. The completed Centre fully realises their intentions, miraculously fusing the spirit of 1968 with the ostensible aim of commemorating a conservative head of state. Since half of the total available site was set aside by Rogers and Piano as a public square, the Centre had to be tall to accommodate the 90,000 square metres (one million square feet) of space demanded by the brief. The decision to place structure and services on the outside was driven primarily by the need for internal flexibility – the scheme provided huge expanses of uninterrupted space on massive, open floors nearly 50 metres deep. The staggering scale of these internal spaces took to extremes Rogers’ concern to create space free from the intrusion of services and stairs (reflecting the influence of Kahn’s doctrine of ‘served and servant spaces’) and these areas have proved to be highly adaptable, their character and use changing freely within the life of the Centre – there is no obvious hierarchy which separates art and learning from more mundane activities. The structural system provided for a braced and exposed steel superstructure with reinforced-concrete floors, realised with the help of the brilliant engineer Peter Rice. External services give scale and detail to the facades, while celebration of movement and access is provided by lifts and escalators which, like the services, were outside the covering of the building. The result is a highly expressive, strongly articulated building which came to be seen as a landmark in the development of ‘high tech’ (a term Rogers loathes). Yet the achievement of Rogers and Piano at Beaubourg was broadly urbanistic as much as architectural. The building and great public square were intended to revitalise an area of Paris that had been in decline. The neighbouring Marais district, now vibrant and multi-cultural, underlines the enormous success of the Pompidou’s role as a catalyst for urban regeneration, changing the character of Paris and laying the foundations for the later Grands Projets. It is as a place for people and a restatement of the fundamental Rogers belief that cities adapt to the needs of people (not vice versa) that the Centre must be counted one of the most significant post-war European buildings. The Pompidou’s radicalism is still striking and has proved attractive to a vast public: more than 7 million people visit the building every year. The recent renovation prior to re-opening in 2000 significantly compromised the original design. Escalators have been installed from the foyer to library, permanent exhibition spaces have been introduced and the public is now charged to use the escalators rising up the façade. That said, the building and its extraordinary contents remain as popular as ever, while crowds fill the square, clustering around musicians, acrobats and fire-eaters. Beaubourg – inside and out – remains as magnetic as ever.