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Manhattan obituary

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astragal

As the sages at the Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture ponder their forthcoming move from shabby John Nash to exciting new premises in trendy Shoreditch, they must be wondering whether it is all worth it. Apparently not, according to what can only be described as an obituary for the Prince's architectural programme penned at length by Paul Goldberger in the current issue of the New Yorker. The thoroughly researched piece has some hilarious moments. Current PoW Institute head Adrian Gale describes the current premises as being like 'a third-rate provincial hotel'. He also confides in Goldberger that 'the prince knows we're in the last chance saloon', and admits that while the word 'new' is allowable in the Prince's presence, 'modern' is not. Other nice comments: a former faculty member says he knew it was time to go when the then chairman of the institute, Lord Morris, asked him who Norman Foster was; and a friend describes the prince's architectural education having consisted of looking out of the window of a Rolls-Royce, listening to his mother and grandmother saying, 'Isn't all that ugly?' So who has won the battle started in 1984 at the great Hampton Court debacle? According to Goldberger, who describes Charles as being 'under a kind of intellectual house arrest', the winners are Foster and Rogers, of course, but also Hopkins, Arup Associates, Lifschutz Davidson and David Chipperfield. He does approve of other sorts of architecture, describing James Stirling's No 1 Poultry as adding 'the one note of joyous bombast to the otherwise cool sleekness of new London architecture'.

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