Following the completion of two major projects in London, some might argue this was the year of Richard Rogers
They would, however, be wrong. Both buildings, after all, are the work of Graham Stirk, and 2014 was the year that Roger’s brave succession plan actually came good.
There was a wobble in 2012 – a potential David Moyes moment – when the practice went public with its new look and new name, but with projects onlookers balked at: One Hyde Park and Neo Bankside – housing for the super-rich. Was this the new face of the Thameside studio that had built a reputation for fairness and civic grace?
Yet the brand held firm and, this year, came out fighting with two classic Stirk designs: the tough, confident, future-friendly ‘Cheesegrater’; and the sleek, inscrutable extension to the British Museum. Harbour, the other name above the door of the rebooted superstar practice, has to a certain extent already proved himself: the two Stirling Prizes in the cabinet, for Barajas Airport and Maggie’s West London, are both Harbour projects.
Next year will be another big one: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners will relocate to the Cheesegrater.
With Lord Riverside’s reputation assured, and a busy diary that sees the octogenarian continue to play an influential role in current thinking on cities, who’s to say the practice won’t go one step further and take on a new shape? That, at least, is what we’ve heard on the grapevine.