Lord Foster & Lord Rogers
Lord Foster (1935-)
The UK's most decorated architect
A Manchester lad born and bred, Norman Foster left school at 16 to work in the city treasurer's office before going to Manchester University's School of Architecture and City Planning. In 1961 he won a fellowship to Yale University in the USA, where he met Richard Rogers. The two set up in practice together in 1963, founding Team 4 with their respective wives of the time, Wendy Cheesman and Su Rogers.
Splitting with Rogers in 1967, he formed his own firm, today called Foster and Partners. Eschewing the usual concrete shell favoured by other architects of the time, Foster used modern materials, especially steel and glass, and opted wherever possible for natural light.
The Willis Faber and Dumas building in Ipswich, completed in 1974, was Foster's big break. The first of many glass-sheathed office complexes, its entrance featured two large escalators, a turfed roof garden and an Olympic-sized swimming pool in the basement.
From that point on, commissions flooded in: the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong (then the most expensive building in the world), Stansted Airport in Essex and the Reichstag in Berlin. All are stripped-down spaces and use natural resources wherever possible.
A host of high-profile green buildings, including the 41-storey Swiss Re building and City Hall in London, have proved Foster's eco-credentials and ensured that he has also been at the forefront of sustainable design.
Recently completed major developments including the Sage Gateshead and Millau Viaduct, are proof the 71 year old has not lost his touch.
Foster's achievements have been widely recognised. He was the second-ever British architect to win the Pritzker prize, the industry's highest honour, and has twice won the Stirling prize for architecture.
He claims he has no intention of stopping soon and impressive up-and-coming projects include Beijing Airport and the twisting Russia Tower in Moscow.
In his own words: "Great architecture should wear its message lightly."
Three key dates:
1974 The Willis Faber and Dumas building, Ipswich
1999 Made a life peer
Lord Rogers (1933-)
Founder of high-tech movement
The other half of Team 4 came to international prominence in 1971 when he decided to explore the radical applications of technology in architecture and joined forces with Genoan architect Renzo Piano. One year later, they won the commission for the Pompidou Centre in Paris, which catapulted Rogers on to the world stage at the age of 38. The image of the Pompidou has become a true icon, featuring on album covers, in a Bond film, and even as a table lamp.
Back in England, Rogers initially found it difficult to pick up work but eventually won a prestigious job from Lloyd's of London to design its City headquarters. After the completion of Lloyd's, Rogers became involved with the exploration of urban issues within politics. Following Tony Blair's victory in the 1997 general election, Rogers was, politically, the best-connected British architect of his generation.
Rogers used his skills to shape government policy and in 2000 headed the government's Urban Task Force, which set out an agenda for rescuing the cities from decay. His policies on high densification and re-utilisation of brownfield sites, are behind a lot of current urban thinking.
At the same time he has been working on larger and larger projects, including the controversial Millennium Dome in Greenwich, south-east London, Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5, the law courts in Antwerp and the National Assembly for Wales. He has also just been appointed to design one of four towers to be built on the Ground Zero site in New York.
As one of the most successful architects of his generation, Rogers was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1985.
Many will remember him for his key role in the technological movement but it is in emphasising the social and urban dimension of architecture that he has perhaps made his greatest contribution.
In his own words: "Technology cannot be an end in itself, but must aim at solving long term social and ecological problems. This is impossible in a world where short term profit for the haves is seem as a goal at the expense of developing more efficient technology for the have nots."
Three key dates:
1972 Won commission for the Pompidou Centre
1996 Became a Labour life peer