Giving evidence at the public inquiry into the controversial glass skyscraper, Rogers said that because of the quality of its design, the tower would be a very worthwhile addition to the skyline of London. He said: "I am delighted to see at last one great 21st-century tower. It has the potential to become the greatest piece of modern architecture in London."
Rogers, who worked with Renzo Piano on the designs for the Pompidou Centre in Paris in the 1970s, said that London Bridge Tower was positioned to become the focus of an important new cluster of tall buildings in Southwark. He said that the cluster would counterbalance the one in the City, which includes the Swiss Re tower, Tower 42, and the proposed Heron Tower.
Rogers said: "This is the beginning of something quite exciting. We have done a lot of damage to our skyline over the last 50 years. But well located and well designed clusters of tall buildings can improve the urban experience. That tower will enrich the skyline, and towers in the same cluster will enrich it further."
Rogers rubbished claims by English Heritage that the so-called "shard of glass" – which, at 306 m, would be London's tallest building – would ruin strategic views of St Paul's and the Tower of London, which is a world heritage site.
It has the potential to become the greatest piece of modern architecture in London
He said that the height of the building was not a problem because it had been well designed, and that low-rise buildings could be more damaging. The view from the top of the Tate Modern, for example, has been ruined by low-rise development, according to Rogers.
He went on to say: "In 50 years, the Renzo Piano tower will become a world heritage site. Architecture is part of an urban experience, not frozen moments. History moves. At what point do we decide to freeze history and say 'no more building'? In a living, moving city this tower would enhance views, and the view of the Tower of London with the Shard of Glass emerging behind it is inspiring."
Rogers added that the tower had a huge contribution to make to the public realm, and that it would be the first step towards the regeneration of the Southwark area.