Top French honour for Pompidou architect Mike Davies
Mike Davies, one of the founding partners of Richard Rogers Partnership, has been appointed a Chevalier of the Order of the Légion d’honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy
As part of the Piano + Rogers team, Davies worked on the Centre Pompidou in Paris from 1971-77 and subsequently on the neighbouring IRCAM building. He has recently been leading Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P) proposals for Grand Paris looking at the future of the French capital as ‘an integrated metropolitan region’.
The Légion d’honneur is France’s highest civil order and is awarded to people of all backgrounds and nationalities ‘who have made significant achievements during careers lasting 20 years or more’.
Davies, who is known for his love of red clothing, said:’ This award acknowledges the collaborative spirit and the strong cultural ties that the practice has developed with France as a result of our many French projects – as well as the tireless support of a truly international French wife. It is in this light that I am honoured to accept the award.
He added: ‘Alongside architecture, a passion for urban design and city life has always informed the work of the practice from the design for the Centre Pompidou and its surrounding urban realm to our larger multi-disciplinary metropolitan overview of Paris today, driven by global environmental challenges. The initial Grand Paris proposals, now part of an ongoing metropolitan project, were the result of a rich collaboration between Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, LSE and Arup.’
- Meanwhile RSH+P came an astonishing second in The Sunday Times’ Profit Tack 100 list of the leading British private firms with the fastest-growing profits. According to the newspaper, the practice’s profits had increased by 160 per cent – up to £15,142,000.
However, the rank for the London-based outfit was based on June 2008 year end figures. As reported in the AJ, the firm subsequently laid off 35 staff (March 2009) with practice founder Richard Rogers saying: ‘In my long career as an architect, this is one of the saddest days. The economic downturn we are experiencing is the most ruthless and wide-ranging I can remember – particularly in the architectural sector – and it is impossible for us to be immune from its effects’.