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PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES: Britain’s newspapers have been weighing in on Prince Charles’ meddling in some high-profile London architectural projects — admittedly, one of his favorite tasks.
On Monday, The Guardian newspaper reported the Prince of Wales had tried to have the Pritzker Prize-winning Jean Nouvel axed as the designer of an office and shopping complex near St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The Guardian’s revelation comes after the prince’s successful campaign in May to oust architect Richard Rogers from a multibillion-dollar housing project in London’s Chelsea.
Hank Dittmar, chief executive officer of The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, an architecture school and trust founded by Prince Charles, said in an Evening Standard editorial the prince was “speaking for most Londoners” on the topic of design.
Ian Leith, a spokesman for the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, called the recent attacks on Charles a “personal vendetta” on the part of Britain’s architects.
But Stirling Prize-winning architect Will Alsop says there’s no vendetta. “What the prince is doing is demoralizing to architects,” he said. “And it seems that the better the architect, the more Prince Charles wants to get involved. Why doesn’t he speak out against the majority of the crap that gets built nowadays?”
Alsop told WWD, however, that Charles is just one of many meddlers. “In London and southeast England, in particular, there’s a lot of interference from busybodies in the local and central governments,” he said. “They take the fun and enjoyment out of the work, for us and for the public.”
— Samantha Conti