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Projecting 27 metres from its footprint on a glorious vineyard above a ravine in Château La Coste, Provence, the Richard Rogers Drawing Gallery expresses the functionalist, high-tech architecture of its designer with aplomb.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners was commissioned to contribute to the ongoing series of wonders along the Château’s Architectural & Art Walk, which also features pavilions by Renzo Piano, Tadao Ando and Jean Nouvel, in 2011. The site sits above a historic Roman track that overlooks an ancient ruin and the Luberon National Park. A decade later, the project has been competed just a year after Rogers announced his retirement from the profession.

The building itself is an elegant, unfussy structure. Clad in a satin-finish steel that mirrors the surroundings, the rectangular 120-square-metre volume – with a poured resin floor and, at its furthest end, a five-by-four-metre window that opens onto a terrace – is encased in a steel armature painted in a pop of blood orange.

The bridge-type engineering employed in order to allow the building to soar from its anchor and capture a view of the mountains of the Luberon is what makes it awe-inspiring. According to the press release, “the building and its materials needed to be flexible. The cables at the entrance that ground the structure contract and expand, sensitive even to the local climate’s fluctuating temperatures.” 

The Richard Rogers Drawing Gallery is a bold feat that appropriately caps a career of highs for Rogers, who is best known for Paris’s Centre Pompidou (with Renzo Piano), Terminal 4 of the Madrid Barajas Airport and the West London Maggie’s Centre.

High-Wire Feat: Richard Rogers’ Final Work

Completed after the legendary architect announced his retirement, the Richard Rogers Drawing Gallery bravely cantilevers over a hill in Château La Coste, France.

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