Richard Rogers may count a Pritzker Prize, the Stirling Prize, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II among his impressive heap of awards, but unbeknownst to the British architect, he also achieved recognition from music legend David Bowie back in 1995.
In the song “Thru’ these Architect’s Eyes,” Bowie—who passed away January 10th—considers the “majesty of a city landscape.” In the first verse, he namedrops both the late Philip Johnson and Rogers: “And stomping along on this big Philip Johnson/Is delay just wasting my time/Looking across at Richard Rogers/Scheming dreams to blow both their minds.”
Rogers, 82, was unaware of the song’s existence.
“I’m a great admirer of David Bowie and I’m delighted to be included in one of his songs,” Rogers told RECORD.
“Thru’ These Architect’s Eyes” is the 17th track on Bowie’s concept album, Outside, for which the musician reunited with producer Brian Eno. In its 1995 review, Rolling Stone wrote of the song, “Bowie digs into the plastic rattling funk…with a ragged enthusiasm.”
At first blush, glam rock and architecture bear little resemblance, but the Starman and the starchitect have both defied conventions in their respective fields—Bowie with his radical performance style and Rogers with his radical designs for the Centre Pompidou (completed the same year as Bowie’s albums Low and Heroes), the headquarters for Lloyd’s of London, and many others.
Listen to “Thru’ These Architect’s Eyes” below.
Main images courtesy Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Beeld En Geluid Wiki - Gallerie: Toppop 1974