The Null Device

Prince Charles' architectural veto

Architect Richard Rogers alleges that Prince Charles, our infallible future head of state and staunch traditionalist, has a veto over all major new developments in London and the UK, using his influence to scupper any ones which he does not approve of:
Developers must square projects with the heir to the throne first to avoid the financial risk of a major undertaking being scuppered by a direct intervention from the great opponent of architectural novelty, who has succeeded in blocking several building plans.
Architects given the Prince’s blessing for their incorporation of his favoured classical style would be attached to projects. Even when Charles did not succeed in getting a development dropped, his intervention could prompt expensive delays, sometimes for years.
Prince Charles, of course, had Rogers' plans for the Chelsea Barracks site scuppered after petitioning one of his fellow royals, the Emir of Qatar, who was funding the project to intervene; the article enumerates a number of other instances in which the Prince saved the Realm from the spectre of architectural modernism:
Called plans for skyscraper by German-born modernist Mies van der Rohe at One Poultry, London a “glass stump” which would “ruin” the skyline. Plans were replaced by a Sir James Stirling design which Charles said “looks rather like an old 1930s wireless.”
Warned Cardiff Bay redevelopment against replicating London’s Docklands where warehouses were “wantonly destroyed”. Plans for an opera house in the Wales Millennium Centre area by modernist Zaha Hadid were scrapped.
Clarence House, Prince Charles' office, has replied, saying that, while a charity funded by the Prince is “often approached for advice and works with local authorities”, Prince Charles has no formal planning approval powers.

There are 2 comments on "Prince Charles' architectural veto":

Posted by: Greg Fri Aug 23 15:40:46 2013

If Prince Charles problematizes modernism and prefers designers to borrows from earlier times, he may be a postmodernist!

Posted by: acb Fri Aug 23 23:16:45 2013

I heard that he may have inadvertently boosted postmodern architecture, when, after his condemnation of modernism, architects started cut'n'pasting incongruous classical colonnades on skyscrapers and such.

One could argue that Charles' own planned village, Poundbury, is a work of unintentional postmodernism, being comprised of “classic” architectural elements which, nonetheless, are used outside of their natural contexts.

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