It’s time to stop relying on the big names of architecture

Rob Fiehn crop

We don’t need another Richard Rogers to use their influence to push grand plans, writes Rob Fiehn. We all benefit from a more transparent system

Last week Ben Flatman posed the question: Where will the next Rogers and Foster come from? This followed the news, first revealed by Building Design, that Richard Rogers is retiring from the practice that he set up in 1977 – and where I was privileged to work for a few years. 

I would argue, however, that this way of thinking is dangerously outdated and based on a flawed concept that great things can be achieved by people of “influence” through the “force of personality”.  

Architects have throughout history had a distinctly dodgy relationship with politics and there are few examples where great things are achieved when governments have favoured individuals rather than seeking advice from a wider spectrum of experts. Arguably one of the most important parts of Rogers’ legacy will be his work on the Urban Taskforce, but we should remember that he did not achieve this piece of work alone.

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