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Architects call for boycott of Prince of Wales RIBA lecture


A host of big names led by Peter Ahrends is calling on architects to boycott the Prince of Wales’s lecture at RIBA tomorrow (12 May), following his attempt to intervene with the Chelsea Barracks scheme

The co-founder of Ahrends Burton Koralek, whose plans for the National Gallery were famously descibed as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’ when the Prince was last at the RIBA 25 years ago, together with Striling prize-winning architects Will Alsop, Chris Wilkinson and seven others, are urging their colleagues to stay away from the lecture.

In a letter to The Guardian, they claim the Prince is meddling unfairly in the democratic planning process to ‘oust modern architecture in favour of his preferred style’.

The other signatories are the architects Ted Cullinan, Tony Fretton, Piers Gough, MJ Long, Ian Ritchie and AJ editor emeritus Paul Finch. An original copy of the letter can be seen by clicking the link below this article.

The letter says: ‘The prince’s latest move displays the destructive signs of his earlier interventions when he set out to scupper modern architecture. This intervention must now be resisted by the profession; not because of the ­question of architectural style but because his actions again threaten an important element of our democratic process. To all architects who value these democratic procedures we advocate a boycott of the prince’s lecture at the Riba on 12 May.’

Ahrends Burton & Koralek were the firm responsible for the National Gallery extension scheme famously branded a ‘monstrous carbuncle’ when the Prince of Wales last spoke at RIBA 25 years ago. It was subsequently canned.

While the exact details of the Prince’s speech are not being released, the AJ exclusively revealed last week that the much anticipated speech is expected to offer a conciliatory hand to RIBA. Sources at Clarence House also confirmed the issues of sustainability and the ‘grammar of architecture’ are likely to feature.


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Readers' comments (3)

  • If anyone wants to boycott the talk I would be honoured to take your place....

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  • To all the architects of England,
    There is no excuse for the misunderstanding of Prince Charles towards the contemporary design of buildings, every single architect has the right to design and build their work.
    Prince Charles is living a mediocre dream in trying to keep an old concept, that had his own time and opportunity.
    Life give us opportunities to create what belongs to the 21st century, the past is the past and is gone, what was built will remain.
    We have to look forward and let the talented architects to fulfill their new contemporary creative buildings.
    Prince Charles, you are not right, you are living in the past, you don't want to belong to this century.
    Kersti Urvois

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  • "every single architect has the right to design and build their work."

    Couldn't disagree more. Certainly every architect has the right to design and offer his work for approval but surely the decision to build it should be in the hands of those who have to live with it.
    The comment is a clear indication you are party to the attitude that the architect is the most important part of the development process and that the process is more important than the end result.
    Maybe Prince Charles isn't so wrong.

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