PRINCE OF DARKNESS  -  Wednesday August 19th, 2009

An eye for an eye: if Prince Charles thinks he can meddle with modernism, than surely modernism can mess up his mum’s house. My proposal for the removal of the Palace, to be replaced by Buckingham Children’s Hospital.

Bonnie Prince Charles is up to his tricks again. The British papers call him “the scourge of modern architecture”, and with reason. The royal Anti-Modernist has been plastering his antiquarian views all over the shop, arguing that all new developments should be built in a mock-neoclassical style. To illustrate the point he had a town constructed, called Poundbury. Within it he designed a dumpy Georgian palace disguised as a fire station.

But it all really kicked off a couple of months ago when he got involved with Richard Rogers’ £3 billion housing development for the Chelsea barracks site. He wrote to the owner, the Emir of Qatar, “one royal to another” to express his disapproval, in an act many called anti-constitutional. As a result Rogers lost the project, which put 5,000 workers out of a job. He is now suing Prince Charles. The worst part of the tale is that the scheme Rogers proposed was indeed pretty bad, making it hard for Modernists to argue its merits.

His most recent act of villainy has been directed at One New Change, Jean Nouvel’s mall opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral. Nouvel has been having quite a lot of problems with upstarts recently – he only just got back from NY, where he was forced to defend his Tour Verre. Stoically, even though he must think the whole world is against him right now, Nouvel said we shouldn’t listen to Prince Charles or any other man that supports “pastiche” architecture.

Nouvel’s One New Change, I heard in Paris that he turned up for the first meeting, put a toy Stealth Bomber on the desk and said “my building will look like this”.

Charlie also recently threatened to resign from the National Trust unless they become more conservative, although his demands to gain veto power over all new Trust architectural developments are largely heresay, as documents pertaining to Royals are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

One Response to “PRINCE OF DARKNESS”
  1. Tristan says:

    Poundbury looks interesting, though I would be interested to know how it responds to its climate (it clearly responds to socio-historic milieu in one way or another). I've got to say though, to me the debate between neo-neo-classicism and modernism and postmodernism and everything else is largely irrelevant unless the buildings are doing something new and interesting and most importantly successful in terms of 'green design.'

    Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is going to be an interesting one to watch.

    As for Nouvel's new mall in the photo, it looks like a standard stack of concrete floors, but with an interesting exterior…much like the Law building a the University of New South Wales.