Richard Rogers: “One of the most influential British architects of our time”; “High tech iconoclast.” Work samples: The Pompidou in Paris (co-designed with fellow Kong Renzo Piano), Madrid’s Barajas International Airport, Lloyd’s of London, Stirling Prize-winning cancer center outside in London, Javits Convention Center.
Zaha Hadid: “One of architecture’s most original and powerful voices“; “Policemen could cite her buildings for speeding“; “Architecture’s diva, the most precocious talent in her profession.” Work samples: MAXXI outside of Rome, Abu Dhabi Cultural Center, jelly ankle boot, Chanel space po, Leipzig BMW plant.
Renzo Piano: “The nature of his designs — sophisticated but not too threatening or unfamiliar — seem tailored to ease the insecurities of museum boards“; “Rejecting monumentality, Piano expresses a preference for an airy, lightweight architecture.” Work samples: Parco della Musica in Rome, Potsdamer Platz masterplan for Berlin, Centre Pompidou competition design with Richard Rogers, Morgan Library addition, Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, New York Times building.
Frank Gehry: “His work has become “logotecture,” a kind of high-priced, globalized architectural branding project“; “One-trick pony“; “[In his mind] architectural purity comes perilously close to oppression.” Work samples: Lou Ruvo Center for brain health, Disney Concert Hall in LA, Pritzker concert pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park, IAC Headquarters in Manhattan, Guggenheim Bilbao, Laughing House in Spain.
Herzog & de Meuron: “Stable qualities that have always been associated with the best Swiss architecture“; “More than half a dozen art museums, each one a provocative reworking of the conventional formula.” Work samples: Tate Modern, Chinese National Stadium in Beijing, Walker Art Center, Allianz Arena in Munich, the upcoming Miami Art Museum.
Rem Koolhaas: “The toughest kid on the block… [He] isn’t interested in signature architecture, in making things look pretty, or in hiding from the realities of contemporary life by treating architecture as a craft skill.” Work samples: Prada stores, the now-defunct Las Vegas branch of the Guggenheim, CCTV Headquarters in Beijing.
Bonus link: Read the fascinating history behind Skidmore, Owings & Merrill at The Independent UK .