Is Prince Charles Abusing His Power?

A number of famous architects believe that the Prince is subverting the planning process by using his royal influence to stymie projects.

Most recently, the Prince used his influence to scuttle a proposed multimillion-dollar development planned for Chelsea and designed by architect Richard Rogers.

"This is the third of Lord Rogers's projects to be scuttled by Prince Charles's intervention, the first being the so-called carbuncle next to the National Gallery. Lord Rogers is joined in his indignation by a raft of renowned architects here and abroad. Ten of them, including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, recently sent a rousingly stern letter to The Times of London decrying Charles's "private comments and behind-the-scenes lobbying."

If he wanted to give his opinion on 'one of the most significant residential projects likely to be built in London in the next five years,' they said, he should have done it through the normal planning process, like a common person, not privately, royally and at the last minute."

Thanks to Zach Seaman

Full Story: In England, a Royal Taste That Alters the Landscape



Is The Prince Abusing His Power - Or Are The Starchitects

The Times article doesn't mention that polls showed that the public was overwhelmingly against Rogers' design for Chelsea Barracks, which looked like a 1960s housing project.

Usually, a small clique of dogmatic modernists are able to dominate the decision-making process for important projects like this. They are the ones who are abusing their power and ignoring the public.

Charles Siegel

Checks and Balances

Personally, I'm quite happy to see Prince Charles using his power as a check against the power of the starchitects. Instead of complaining, perhaps they should see this as a warning to them to check their egos at the door, and to stop designing massively out-of-scale projects. A good architect can build something that fits in with the fine-grained pedestrian scale of a city, but these folks seem to want to build monuments to themselves.

I realise there is some serious irony in a hereditary royal being the one to keep these people in check, but I'm glad that someone is doing it! If these architects were to begin to designing things that are beautiful, environmentally-friendly, contextual and pedestrian-oriented, then perhaps they wouldn't be facing having to deal with Prince Charles' influence.

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