Lord Rogers in line for GLA role
Lord Rogers of Riverside is set to be named as the latest high-profile appointment to London mayor Ken Livingstone's Greater London Authority.
A senior GLA source told the AJ that the Labour peer has been offered a two-day-aweek post in Livingstone's regime, with a view to pushing the findings of his Urban Task Force report, Towards an Urban Renaissance. The unconfirmed move would open the way for the report's strategy to be rolled out in the capital, and Rogers is said to be discussing terms for what he called the 'environmental' advisory role.
Rogers told the AJ: 'I'm quite looking forward to it. I love London, it's fantastic, and if I can make the city a little bit better for everyone else then it's worthwhile doing.' The appointment would place an architect in a hugely powerful position in the development of the capital's built environment. This week Rogers clinched a similar role for western Newcastle (see page 12). Rogers' practice is already working on a masterplan for the environs of Wembley Stadium, forming a trio of high-profile chances to implement Rogers' long-held beliefs on how cities should develop.
The GLA said it would not comment on 'potential appointments' and it is unclear whether Rogers would take a place in Livingstone's 'cabinet' alongside people such as Green Party member Darren Johnson with his environment remit, and Judith Mayhew's City patch. But Rogers' official spokesman Robert Torday confirmed that there will be an announcement 'soon'.
Meanwhile, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and the Architecture Foundation have independently approached the GLA in bids to affect London's development through the creation of an architecture centre in the GLA's new Foster and Partners-designed home.
CABE has held informal talks with planners at the fledgling authority and was first to put across an idea of converting the top floor of the building at More London Bridge on the south bank of the Thames. A tentative plan includes installing a large model of the city similar to that created by modelmakers Pipers, which was on show at the MIPIM property conference in March.
The space, which is about 40m in diameter, could also house public exhibitions and showcase details of developments 'called in' by mayor Ken Livingstone.
The Architecture Foundation, meanwhile, which Lord Rogers chairs, is also having 'interesting conversations' with the GLA, although it will not be taking office space in the building for fear of compromising its independent status. It has signed a one-year extension to its lease on its cramped Bury Street site, but is thinking about moving into the South Bank Centre as part of the Rick Mather plan in about 2005, and is talking to three other 'cultural institutions' about taking space earlier than that. Tate Modern architect Harry Gugger told the AJtwo months ago that an institution like the Foundation would be interested in space in the as yet undeveloped southern third of the Bankside building, and the Royal Academy could be one of the others.