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NEW BID FOR CLASSICAL SCHOOL

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A fresh attempt to set up a school of Classical and traditional architecture is under way, the AJ can reveal.

An alliance of three organisations, which includes the Prince's Foundation, has launched an audacious bid for an EU grant to fund the school.

The foundation has joined with the Prince Charles-backed pan-European Classical lobbying organisation, the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU), and a Norwegian group, the Foundation for Urban Renewal (FUR).

The three organisations say they are determined to 'give students a chance' to study traditional architecture.

The group has already made it clear that the initiative is a reaction to the 'failure of Modernist planning' and would teach a European version of the North American 'New Urbanism'.

The school, it says, will allow students to study traditional, Classical and vernacular design and urban planning 'free from the Modernism that holds sway in schools of architecture'.

It is understood that the campaigners, who also have the support of British Classicist Robert Adam, are about halfway towards winning funding for the scheme.

However, it is completely unclear whether the group will be capable of securing validation for the course from the RIBA.

One thing that is certain is that it will be a very different animal to the Prince's last effort to set up a school of traditional architecture, which collapsed in 1998 amid rowing and indignation.

The new school will have a pan-European element, which will see students moving around different schools of architecture throughout the continent.

There are six countries with establishments currently signed up: the UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Romania and Norway.

It is certain that the British Classical scene will prove key to the success of the project. It is understood that if it does win the cash injection needed to get off the ground, students will start their studies in 2008 in London, most likely at the University of Greenwich's School of Architecture.

Auden Engh, of FUR, outlined how the new school would work.

'It will teach the traditional urban design principles, ' he said.

'It will teach students about vernacular architecture in different cities.

'It will especially focus on the failure of Modernist planning principles, such as in East Germany, ' Engh added.

And INTBAU's secretary Matthew Hardy, who is based at the Prince's Foundation, agreed that the idea was born of an increased demand for a traditional approach to planning.

'There is an enormous demand for urbanists, ' he said.

'We want our students to understand the cultures and contexts of vernacular architecture in different traditions.'

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