In all of the current hoohaa surrounding Prince Charles’s latest intervention in the UK architectural scene, we can at least acknowledge his contribution to the field with his (in)famous descriptor “monstrous carbuncle”, with which he originally described the proposed Sainsbury Wing extension to London’s National Gallery (Prince Charles’s opposition led to the dropping of the original modernist proposal in favour, and subsequent realisation of the very postmodernist Venturi/Scott-Brown building). Read More
Here is a companion piece to the Prince Charles post of a couple of weeks ago (I hope it is clear by now that my Zaha comments were made with tongue embedded firmly in cheek…). Here, for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure perhaps?), is a very short clip propounding the virtues of Poundbury:
What do you make of it? Would you live there? Read More
Unfortunately the Guardian article that brings this rather strange contemporary building to our attention is dated 31st of March – so I have to assume that it isn’t some April Fool’s Day prank. This is, according to the article, the Prince of Wales’ first attempt at architectural design – a fire station in that weird little phenomenon: Poundbury.
Now, there has been some discussion over at the Fish, relating to the employment of Classical architectural language by various regimes throughout history, but HRH’s uptake of the style is much more bizarre than a simple architecture-as-propaganda motive. Here the Prince seems to be waxing nostalgic for a bygone era of – not royal power – but strictly mannered gentility: a romantic yearning for a bygone era that only ever existed for the few who had the good fortune to be born into nobility…
It’s kind of sweet really (the yearning, not the building) – but what are we to make of this out here in the Dominion of New Zealand, whose Head of State may well end up being Prince Charles? Yes, the role is largely symbolic, but does his utopian conservatism symbolically align with our own self-styled egalitarianism? And what of architectural taste? Perhaps we should have invited the Prince to design our Supreme Court (now there would be a symbolic gesture!) – I am sure he would show us colonials a thing or two about domes… Read More