RIBA president Marco Goldschmied has attacked Prince Charles as 'extremely misinformed' after the Prince described twentieth-century architecture as 'genetically modified' and labelled the profession 'self-referential and self-congratulatory'.
Speaking at the inaugural Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture last week, the Prince tore into architects for failing to work with planners to create community-based schemes. He went on to criticise the profession for discarding the value of craftsmanship and tradition and for designing buildings as an expression of individual ego.
But Goldschmied hit back: 'He seemed extremely illinformed when speaking about procurement and the planning process. The lack of traditional craftsmanship which he bemoans is a reflection of the chronic lack of investment in design quality in the built environment by governments and industry throughout his lifetime. '
However, he warned that the Prince speaks for a broad cross-section of architects as well as the public and indeed, the Prince's supporters were quick to back his views. 'I think his comments make sense to anyone who has not been brainwashed by the architecture schools, ' said Erith Terry partner Quinlan Terry.
Former RIBA president Max Hutchinson played down the Prince's remarks and said they failed to strike a chord with the public as his speeches in the 1980s did.
Prince Charles also announced a new £10,000-a-year scholarship in the name of Stephen Lawrence for a black or ethnic minority student to study on the Prince's Foundation one-year foundation course in architecture. But equal opportunities campaigners were disappointed by his lack of greater support for their cause. 'He steered clear of talking about cultural diversity and I felt he could have said more, ' said the chairman of the Architects for Change equal opportunities group, Sumita Sinha.
And chairman of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and architect Arthur Timothy said: 'The profession has to confront the fact that there is quite serious racism in its ranks. '
Read Prince Charles' speech on page 20-22