World’s top architects slam Prince Charles for interfering development

April 19th, 2009 - 2:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Chelsea London, Apr. 19 (ANI): World’s leading architects have slammed the Prince of Wales for “using his privileged position” to interfere in the design of a controversial luxury development in London’s most attractive part.

Five Pritzker prize-winning architects alleged that Charles has “skewed” the democratic process by using his royal connections in an attempt to stop modernist plans for the former Chelsea Barracks.

In a letter to the Sunday Times, top architects Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Lord Foster, Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry attacked the traditional architect supporter prince.

They disclosed that the prince had been successful in persuading the Qatari royal family, who own the site, to consider having more traditional brick and stone buildings for the development at the expense of the glass and steel proposals submitted by Lord Rogers, the project’s architect.

“If the prince wants to comment on the design of this or any other project we urge him to do so through the established planning consultation process,” they write.

“It is essential in a modern democracy that private comments and behind-the-scenes lobbying by the prince should not be used to skew the course of an open and democratic planning process that is currently under way,” they added.

The prince argues that the proposed buildings would look inappropriate adjacent to the Royal hospital, Chelsea, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

The architects, who have attacked prince, have been attributed for the “bird’s nest” stadium for the Beijing Olympics, the Gherkin and Tate Modern in London, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

Charles seems to have a particular dislike of designs by Rogers. Rogers put in proposals for the extension for the National Gallery in 1984, which were criticized by the prince.

He famously called one of the plans “a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend”. He also objected to Rogers’s ideas to redevelop Paternoster Square, next to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Architect and academic Richard Burdett said: “The prince is basically saying that Rogers should be fired.”

Robert’s famous designs

Lord Foster’s City Hall, housing the London mayor, was nicknamed “the glass testicle”. Boris Johnson rechristened it “the onion”.

Foster’s National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, opened in 1996, has been called “excruciatingly dismal” by critics.

Heathrow’s terminal 5, designed by Lord Rogers, was called “a disaster” after baggage-handling chaos last year. (ANI)

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