John B. Rogers
Photo courtesy RNL
John B. Rogers

John B. Rogers, FAIA, co-founder of Denver-based architecture firm RNL, died on July 12 at the age of 85.

Rogers first arrived in Denver in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Kansas State University and three years overseas with the army in Lentz, Austria. It was during a postwar ski trip to Winter Park that he decided to move to Denver, where he found employment with Mark Musick and Temple Buell.

Though he left again to earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas, he returned upon graduation and founded his own firm. Later, in 1984, Rogers earned an MBA at the University of Colorado at Denver

In 1961, Rogers joined forces with Jerry Nagel, and five years later, through a merger, Rogers Nagel became Rogers Nagel Langhart Architects and Engineers.

RNL has since grown to more than 200 people among four offices in Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dubai.

Rogers’ best-known design work in the Denver area includes the Colorado Supreme Court Building, the original Colorado History Museum, Rocky Mountain News office building, Tabor Center office building, Wellington E. Webb Municipal office building, The Cable Center, and Colorado’s Ocean Journey aquarium.

His honors and awards include his election to the AIA College of Fellows in 1979; Architect of the Year, AIA Colorado, 1991; Silver Medal, AIA Western Mountain Region, 1994; Distinguished Service Award, Board of Regents, University of Colorado; Alumnus Fellow, Kansas State University.

Rogers’ dedication to his profession was exceeded only by his love for family. While at the University of Texas, he met and later married fellow student Bette Peek.

Bette Rogers died Sunday, July 11, only a few hours before her husband. They are survived by their three sons: Scot, Rob and Richard. Rob has carried on the architectural tradition as principal at New York-based Rogers Marvel Architects.

A memorial service and reception is scheduled for Bette and John Rogers on Wednesday, July 21 at 10 a.m. at the Wellshire Presbyterian Church, 2999 S. Colorado Boulevard, Denver.

Kimberly MacArthur Graham contributed to this article.