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Chelsea Barracks, London, United Kingdom

Monday 20 Apr 2009

A Royal pain in the neck?

Chelsea Barracks by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom
Lord Rogers' design (left) Prince Charles' design (right) 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 3

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22/04/09 Peter Hancock, Maseru
Comparing the two design proposals, it looks as if the design promoted by Prince Charles creates more agreeable living-spaces, planned around grassed courtyards, reminiscent of traditional London squares. Lord Rogers' proposal, in the form of parallel blocks, is more reminiscent of barrack-like accommodation, resulting in many of the residents looking directly into their neighbours' dwellings.

In terms of urban design and urban spaces, it could be said that the courtyard scheme would have been more succesful, both in terms of design and of the residential environment.
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21/04/09 Peter, Maseru
Prince Charles has just as much right as Lords Foster and Rogers, et al, to comment on such a major development. If he also chooses to have an alternative scheme prpeared, at his own cost, even if only to show an alternative set of design principles, this at least gives the public and planning authorities another option to compare with the approved scheme.<p>

In fact, setting aside the superficially classic repro detail of the Prince's scheme, in reality, Charles's spacious courtyards would form a much more agreeable and humane living environment, rather than the proposed barrack-like parallel rows of dwellings, many of which look straight into each other.
This design also displays a lack of sensitivity to,the urban scale and character of this part of London, and could broadly be described as totally institutional, lacking in domestic character or scale.

Peter Hancock, PhD(Urban & Regional Planning)
Architect and Urban Designer
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21/04/09 Gordon G Benton, OBE, RIBA, LIPPO VILLAGE, Banten, Indonesia
Whilst hardly a fan of romantic architectural disinterment, and agree that the personal hard word from high places is hardly the way to handle solution-finding and meaningful architectural discussion, I have a deal of sympathy with the Prince in that Roger's scheme seems so utterly soulless - looks as if his scheme came off the parade square (memory recalls looking straight ahead at someone's neck!). What about the spaces between and around habitable structures? Why should Army Barracks be designed as if for battery hens!
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Architects rally against Prince of Wales' criticism 

The Prince of Wales has once again thrust himself into the architectural spotlight by adding his voice to opposition for the £1billion Chelsea Barracks scheme designed by Lord Rogers. Demanding that the design for the project, which will provide 552 homes, be scrapped, the Prince has added to a string of influential outbursts in the architectural profession which commenced in 1984. In a speech at Hampton Court he branded plans for a new wing of the National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle" and they were promptly dropped.

In February this year the Prince, who set up the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, commented on the slums of Mumbai saying they "provide a better model for housing a booming urban population in the developing world than Western Architecture".

Following this latest input from Prince Charles, 5 Pritzker prize winners: Jacques Herzog, Lord Foster, Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry and five others have signed their names in a letter to the UK's Sunday Times. The letter in part reads: “It is essential in a modern democracy that private comments and behind-the-scenes lobbying by the prince should not be used to skew the course of an open and democratic planning process that is currently under way.”

Prince Charles' opposition of the scheme is such that he had an alternative design developed. Both designs can be seen in the main image, Prince Charles' right, Rogers' left.

So which design do you prefer? Have your say in our WAN poll where you can also leave comments.

WAN Editorial

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