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Prince Charles blasts contemporary architecture

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Prince Charles has launched an attack on contemporary architecture at a Prince’s Foundation conference at St James’ Palace.

Speaking at the ‘New Buildings in Historic Places’ forum today (31 January), the heir to the throne said ‘being modern’ was leading to the vandalism of the ‘few unspoilt areas of our cities’, and called for an end to the ‘random planning’ of tall buildings in London.

He said: ‘We should surely be asking whether it is a natural prerequisite of “being modern” to display bad manners? Is it “being modern”, for instance to vandalise the few remaining relatively unspoilt, beautiful areas of our cities, any more than it would be “modern” to mug defenceless elderly people? Can it not be modern to do unto others as you would have them do to you?’

The Prince continued by claiming there is a ‘free-for-all’ allowing the development of tall buildings in the UK’s cities that will leave them with ‘pockmarked skylines’.

The Prince said: ‘Not just one carbuncle on the face of a much-loved old friend, but a positive rash of them that will disfigure precious views and disinherit future generations of Londoners.’

However, the Prince did not oppose building tall buildings altogether. He said areas such as Canary Wharf and La Défense in Paris, are places ‘for those statements of corporate aspiration to be made’.

The conference also saw the Prince set out his five point plan to build ‘new buildings in old places’.

The five points are:

• to build buildings that last for 100 years, not just 20;
• to design and build in a flexible manner, to allow buildings to be reused;
• to fit buildings with their context, in terms of layout, materials and ecology;
• to build beautifully, in a manner that upholds tradition but by using present day techniques and resources; and
• to understand the building within the hierarchy of its surrounding buildings, not just as singular objects.

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