If 2009 will be remembered for one thing, it could very well be the year that Prince Charles tried to defeat modernism. Follow the ugly brawl of Charles vs. Richard Rogers just a few months ago, his fighting off plans for a charity’s new building, and the high-profile resignation from the Society for the Protection of Architecture for their modern-loving ways, it’s been revealed that back in 2005, he tried to pull another modernism-killing move by trying to change a developer’s mind about hiring Jean Nouvel for an office/residential building near the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral. Charles had written a letter to the developer, saying the proposed building would hurt the appearance of St. Paul’s and offered “any help to think about what works best.” The developer found it wholly inappropriate and decided not to listen, thus we find today Nouvel’s building working toward completion. The Guardian also goes into detail about Charles’ growing forcefulness within the industry in trying to get modernist projects derailed. All of this has caused the Royal Institute of British Architects to demand that he “step back.” Here’s some from Sunan Prasad, the president of the RIBA:
“The prince has an unusual amount of power which, under our constitution, is not designed to be used to interfere with the running of everyday affairs in this country for the simple reason that the prince is not accountable,” he said.
Elsewhere, it appears that not all is sunshine and roses if a developer decides to go the anti-modern route after all. The Prince’s extensive pet project, the residential area of Poundbury, “the heir to the throne’s dream of the perfect English village” is being described by residents as cheaply and too quickly built and has created new pockets of crime and vandalism.