Friday, May 8, 2009

Prince Charles and His Interest in Architecture

When most people think about Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales and future King of England) they probably think about his divorce from Princess Diana, her tragic death, and his second marriage to his mistress Camilla Bowles. The design world also knows that Prince Charles is an afficionado of architecture and an outspoken critic of the Modernist style.

Most recently making the news, Prince Charles is fighting to stop a controversial modern development in London designed by the architect, Lord Richard Rogers, with whom he famously clashed 25 years ago. In 1984, Charles publicly attacked the architect’s proposed extension to London’s National Gallery as ‘a monstrous carbuncle’.

Now he is attacking a proposed design by Rogers for living units on the Chelsea Barracks site in London. The Prince has written to the Emir of Qatar (the developer) urging him to reconsider the Modernist Chelsea design and to look, instead, at a classical design by one of his favorite architects, Quinlan Terry.

Some architects object to any non-architects (Prince Charles, Brad Pitt, IDEO) being given a forum to express their public opinions about architecture just because they are well-known in some other field. For design educators, this provides an opportunity to introduce architecture and design concepts to those who might not otherwise find interest in the topics.

No comments: