Review: Richard Rogers Inside Out

Royal Academy | By Alex Dymoke
Four Stars
THE new Richard Rogers exhibition at the Royal Academy includes his 1958 report from the Architectural Association School. It reads: “Rogers has a genuine interest in and a feeling for architecture, but sorely lacks the intellectual equipment to translate these feelings into sound buildings”. The exhibition paints a detailed picture of the man as well as the work, and if all the books, articles, notes and television programmes are anything to go by, it’s no wonder his teachers were exasperated with him. Rogers is a thinker, too preoccupied to with big ideas to be bothered with the minute fiddliness of drawing and model making.
The second room contains plans for some buildings currently under construction. We’re given an insight into the ideas behind the Leadenhall building (or the cheesegrater as it has semi-affectionately been nicknamed). Its steep, Shard-like incline is not a kooky modern affectation, but a demure lean designed to preserve the view of St Paul’s cathedral from Fleet Street. Other interesting exhibits include possible solutions for an increasingly overcrowded London, rejected proposals for major projects and details of his public spats with Prince Charles. At 80, this old champion of progress shows no sign of slowing down.