The Prince lobbied for Pritzker Prize winner to be dropped from the £500 million One New Change complex beside St Paul’s Cathedral
The Guardian reports that Prince Charles wrote a private letter to Land Securities, the developers, in which he made clear he was unhappy with the choice of Nouvel, saying any design should ‘allow St Paul’s to shine bright’ and offering his own architectural advisers in case the developers ‘needed any help to think about what works best’.
‘He wrote to me at the time we selected Nouvel and suggested we should meet his preferred architects,’ Mike Hussey, then London director of Land Securities told the newspaper. ‘He hadn’t seen the scheme, he just complained about the selection of the architect. He didn’t want a modernist.’
Hussey claims the heir to the throne ‘referred us to the Paternoster Square development… He said “this is how we approached it and got it right”.’
The letter, sent in 2005, was condemned by Sunand Prassad, RIBA President as ‘brazen’ and ‘pernicious’. ‘The Prince has an unusual amount of power which, under our constitution, is not designed to be used to interfere with the running of everyday affairs in this country for the simple reason that the prince is not accountable… This is a dangerous course to go down. There was an open competition for this building and then along comes somebody with special powers seeking to influence the outcome in a blatant intervention,’ he told the Guardian.
It also emerged that Prince Charles’s architecture charity is involved in plans for more than 17,000 homes – a larger number than Persimmon, one of Britain’s largest house builders, built last year.