One of the world’s most renowned architects’ practices will bid Hammersmith goodbye after more than 30 years.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RHSP) is to leave its iconic riverside home in Thames Wharf Studios later this year to set up shop in one of the capital’s new icons, the Leadenhall Building - or the Cheesegrater - in the City of London, which was designed by the practice.
RSHP started off in 1977 as the Richard Rogers Partnership after it was set up by architect Richard Rogers who had just completed the controversial Pompidou Centre in Paris.
It’s named changed to RHSP in 2007 because Lord Rogers ‘wanted to avoid the situation where the name of the practice is someone who died 100-years-ago’.
The practice acquired the dome-roofed Thames Wharf Studios in 1983 and converted it from the Duckham’s oil facility into offices, workshops, housing and a restaurant - Michelin starred, The River Cafe which is owned and run by Lord Rogers’ wife, Ruth Rogers.
RSHP and the name Richard Rogers have both been a stalwart of Hammersmith life for 32 years and the practice was awarded the Stirling Prize in 2009 for the Maggie’s Centre charity building based in the grounds of nearby Charing Cross Hospital.
A number of iconic buildings across the world have been the result of innovative architecture by RSHP and the Richard Rogers Partnership, including Heathrow Terminal 5, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, the Millenium Dome, Las Arenas in Barcelona, One Hyde Park and now the Leadenhall building where it will move to.
The partners at RSHP will be saying a fond farewell to Hammersmith but are excited about working in the City’s tallest building.
The nine partners, who are Richard Rogers, Mike Davies, Graham Stirk, Ivan Harbour, Andrew Morris, Lennart Grut, Richard Paul, Ian Birtles and Simon Smithson, said: “We are very proud of The Leadenhall Building and delighted to become its latest tenants.
"After 30 years at Thames Wharf Studios, it is important for us to be moving into a building that reflects the ethos and evolution of our design practice, clearly stated in its urban relationship with the Lloyd’s building opposite. We will begin this new phase of our history in a building that already feels like home but allows us the advantages of a contemporary, flexible office space in a prime location in the increasingly vibrant and exciting City of London.”
The Cheesegrater’s distinctive slanting profile was conceived by the RSHP design team, led by Graham Stirk, to respect a protected sight line of St Paul’s Cathedral from Fleet Street.
The iconic Hammersmith practice will now be redeveloped by the billionaire Livingstone brothers, Ian and Richard, into a mix of apartments and commercial plots, of course designed by RSHP.
Lady Rogers’s River Cafe is said to be getting a new home in the building as well, after her lease runs out in December 2015.