The pioneering British architect Richard Rogers, who died on December 18, leaves behind the legacy of architecture as a creative force shaping the future of cities. The architectural legend was known for his unique buildings which were designed to be contextualized within the larger urban landscape. In 2007, Rogers won architecture’s highest honor: the Pritzker Prize, for projects that “represent defining moments in the history of contemporary architecture,” according to the jury chairman Lord Palumbo. Rogers’ other awards include the Praemium Imperiale in 2000 and the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in 1985. He served as the mayor of London’s chief adviser on urbanism, and was knighted in 1991.

Rogers’ early experiences as a child facing the challenges of dyslexia imbued him with the compassion and focus on inclusivity that characterize many of his works. “[My parents] instilled me with a clear understanding of how we can create a socially inclusive environment,” he told the Yale Centre for Dyslexia & Creativity.

One of Rogers’ most famous works, the Pompidou Center in Paris, helped to democratize exemplary art and make high culture accessible. Despite the initial opposition of many artists and designers to the offbeat design, the public loved the building. During its opening in 1977, more people visited the Pompidou Center than the Louvre museum and the Eiffel Tower. The Pompidou Center marked Rogers as a fearless visionary who designed according to his principles: populism, sustainability, and sensuality.

Rogers’ shared vision was “the idea that modernism doesn’t have to be cold, or to deny us sensual pleasures,” says the Times critic Paul Goldberger. “He wanted his buildings to inspire an emotional connection.” Above all, Rogers wanted architecture to be a force for the collective good. “We are witnessing technological developments that, if creatively exploited, could give our cities a new lease of life, making them greener, more sociable, more beautiful,” he said.

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