'Destructive' Prince of Wales upsets architects
THE Prince of Wales is threatening the "democratic process" with a "destructive" intervention in a planning process to "oust modern architecture in favour of his preferred style", leading architects said yesterday.
Stirling prize-winning architects Will Alsop and Chris Wilkinson are backing a call for the industry to boycott a lecture by the Prince at the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) on Tuesday.
The Prince reportedly told representatives of the Qatari royal family that designs for a 1 billion housing scheme on the site of the former Chelsea barracks were "unsympathetic" and "unsuitable".
In his last speech at Riba, 25 years ago on its 150th anniversary, the Prince stunned architects when he branded a proposed extension to the National Gallery as being "like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend".
In a letter published in yesterday's Guardian, Peter Ahrends, of ABK, wrote: "The Prince's latest move displays the destructive signs of his earlier interventions, when he set out to scupper modern architecture.
"This intervention must now be resisted by the profession.
"To all architects who value these democratic procedures, we advocate a boycott of the Prince's lecture at the Riba on the 12 May."
The letter was signed by Ahrends, Alsop, Wilkinson, Ted Cullinan, Paul Finch, Tony Fretton, Piers Gough, MJ Long and Ian Ritchie.
The Prince's criticism of the plans for the former Chelsea barracks site, by the firm of Richard Rogers – who designed the Millennium Dome – was followed by the publication of an alternative design based on a classical pastiche of Sir Christopher Wren by Quinlan Terry, reputedly one of Charles's favourite architects.
The Qatari royal family is now understood to be considering an alternative.
A spokeswoman for the Prince of Wales declined to comment.
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