Richard Rogers ‘Inside Out’ at RA Burlington Gardens 13.09.13

Richard Rogers ‘Inside Out’ at The Royal Academy is a generous and entertaining retrospective. My first visit to the RA’s new exhibition rooms at Burlington Gardens which opened last year. The exhibition is beautifully put together with large typographic walls and a bold colour theme which runs throughout, starting with a fluro-pink statement room before simplifying to coloured bus-stop text panels.

Original scale models of major projects are displayed and supported with big print outs of plans, drawings and sketches. Rogers’ notebooks are displayed along-side photographs, press clippings, letters to and from prime ministers, charicatures, professional and family photographs which combine to give an impression of a collaborative studio life and the importance of time away from work – time to think.

An in-built flexibility which gives buildings the chance to evolve with use and to be enjoyed in different ways by different groups is described. This humanistic philosophy gives buildings the best chance of success. By understanding that people resent, and instinctively rebel against prescriptive “directions”, and respond better to a format which offers options and freedom, Rogers has loosened the dictatorial grip of his predecessors and found a persuasive way to frame the conversation around how we live today, and might live tomorrow.