New Year Resolutions from the people who really, really matter to you
THE PRINCE OF WALES
It seems to me that the trajectory of architectural theory is very much like a journey through life. One is cruising along in a Rolls Royce, admiring the Classical rigour of a John Nash parade (itself laid gently and with reverence upon a medieval street pattern) when suddenly – the bobble-hatted barbarians are upon us! Is there something so terribly wrong with our cherished traditions (symmetry, order, monarchy) that they provoke such rage? I hope that in 2011 the nation, united perhaps by the inspirational leadership of someone who has both the time and the money to campaign for a return to the certainties of Georgian architecture and the societal hierarchy that served us so well for centuries, will pause, reflect and sorry I’ve lost my bearings, it’s been quite a long sentence. On a personal level (think of me not just as the next King, but as a ‘mate’ hoping to lead by example) here are my resolutions:
• Try my hardest to be even more patronising on behalf of those institutions I am patron of.
• Make an impassioned plea for aesthetic retro-organicism.
• Actually, before I do that, I’ll double-check that ‘aesthetic retro-organicism’ isn’t another joke concocted by my waggish architectural advisers.
• Dispel the ludicrous notion that I am somehow ‘out of touch’ by causing a MySpace account to be opened in my name, and shortening my kilt by two inches.
• Upgrade my personal protection package to Premium.
ROCK STEADY EDDIE
As one of the tastiest totally legit fixers now operating in that dear old game we call architecture, let me give you ‘the George’ on some cushty earners for 2011. First, major openings for architects who like working outdoors: dismantling of The North will be underway throughout the year. And that means on-site supervision opportunities for geezers (and geezesses) who know when to look sharp and when to go Nelson. Second, I understand from inside sources that there will be a major design competition for a prototype ‘community kiosk’. Basically, like them old-fashioned police boxes but ordinary people taking turns at being inside and wearing a hat on behalf of everyone else. Third, upmarket confectionery. ‘Increasingly shape-driven’. Kosher steer. Shh.
THE RT HON AENEAS UPMOTHER-BROWN
Hello. You may know me as that mental toff accompanied everywhere by a personal bee swarm. But I am also secretary of state responsible for architecture, which to save paperwork has been absorbed into pub licensing. I am sure 2011 will produce some marvellous buildings, cognisant of Big Society guidelines, in which we can all be. Together. Not – Heaven forfend! – that I am suggesting architecture is some kind of market-led ‘kettling’ tactic, penning in hapless end users for their own good. Certainly not. I am suggesting on the contrary that architecture is rather like a sociological jelly mould, do you see, of the type we all remember Nanny forbidding us to…oh, listen to me gassing on here. I’ll just leave you to it, possibly appearing from time to time inside a listening bee cloud, eh?
Next year will be full of challenges for those of us who treasure Britain’s architectural heritage. As a leading conservactionist I will be protesting, along with my friends from the education sector, in army surplus clothing. Like them, I will deplore the mainstream media’s refusal to differentiate between violence to people and violence to buildings, although I do disagree with my lecturer friends about which is unacceptable. No rest until our towns and cities once again look like the backdrop to an Ealing Comedy!
THE MAYOR OF LONDON
Proximo anno, urbem Londinium renovabo. pedestres bourgeoisio hortor ut ei adsint. certe, etiam, quos qui in rotis duplicis ‘courtesy of Barclays Bank’ sunt. ut starchitecti optimes orbis fuck-off monumenta aedificient mandabo. monumentis perfectis, architectos interficiam, sicut mos est. ha ha ha! Londinium deis placebit. desuper, regio inclusa labiis M25i ‘vajazzlissima’ visura est.
I am looking forward to the new year, as you bloody ruined this one. Despite my clear instruction to create something similar to that magazine photograph I showed you, and a budget that didn’t even cover construction costs, the end result was very disappointing. It looked nothing like the fantasy in my ego-addled head. I will be seeking a better, cheaper architect next year.