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Prince Charles apologises to architects, but is unrepentant on modernism

Prince Charles apolgised to the RIBA last night, but was critical of modernism and urged architects to respect history and scale

In a conciliatory speech that avoided the controversy of 25 years ago, the Prince of Wales apologised if he ‘left the faintest impression that I wished to kick-start some kind of ‘style war’ between Classicists and Modernists’

He warned, however, that ‘a gulf’ remains between those obsessed by forms and those who believe that communities have a role to play in design and planning.

‘…I don’t go around criticizing other people’s private artworks. I may not like some of them very much, but it is their business what they choose to put in their houses. However, as I have said before, architecture and the built environment affect us all. Architecture defines the public realm, and it should help to define us as human beings, and to symbolize the way we look at the world.’

Speaking at RIBA’s 175 anniversary, the Prince criticised the experiment of modern architecture, which appeared in the 1960’s and said the current economic crisis had thrown into contrast the ‘unsustainable nature’ of the way professionals operate.

‘The crisis in the banking and financial sector – devastating though its consequences will be for some – has at least brought to light something of the short-termist, unsustainable, and experimental nature of the way many professionals now operate in the world.’

The prince closed by expressing his hope that the institute would be able to develop a relationship with the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment to work together to ‘create the kind of organic architecture for the 21st century that not only reflects the intuitive needs, aspirations and cultural identity of countless communities around the world.’

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