This is rather old news but I wanted to give a little space to applauding Charles’ latest heroics:
The Prince of Wales is no stranger to controversy when it comes to architecture and he has fought some bloody battles over the years. But he has always chosen his ground carefully and the conflicts have been few and far between. Most famous was the “monstrous carbuncle” extension to the National Gallery in 1984 and the Paternoster development alongside St Paul’s Cathedral. Because of his clout, he more or less won both of them. But for some years he has lain low, content to push ahead with his Poundbury village in Dorset and his Prince’s Foundation, which designs traditional housing developments. …
Thus his intervention in the scheme at Chelsea Barracks is significant. He regards the Lord Rogers design as inappropriate (no doubt a euphemism for “hideous”) for a site alongside Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal hospital. He would clearly prefer a neo-classical development by Quinlan Terry, his favoured architect. …
That the prince is using his position is not in doubt and some would regard this as trying to subvert the planning process by stealth. But this is an occasion when he happens to be right. It could equally be said that he should not have intervened in the National Gallery and Paternoster developments, even though the capital ended up with better buildings alongside national treasures. Faced by greedy developers and an arrogant architectural establishment that despises classical design, it requires the occasional influential voice to stand up to them. Let us hope that on this occasion his voice prevails and London ends up with a development to rival that of Wren.
Update (4.29): I forgot I had this open as well:
Now they’re at it again, accusing him of using his “privileged position” to intervene in the modernist plans for Chelsea Barracks.
Firstly, yes Prince Charles is privileged – he’s the future King of England, for flip’s sake – and yes, he has no right to be listened on this subject.
So, Christopher Wren. Did the Royal Hospital right next to the Baracks. Built Saint Paul’s, too I believe. Did some improvements to Kensington Palace. As well as Hampton Court Palace. All buildings people, typically, don’t want to tear down for being an eyesore. All connected with a theme of slight, how to put this… privilege.