Rules and regulations are the order of the day for Prince Charles’ newest architectural quest. Knockroon in Ayrshire, Scotland is a new community development planned by The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment (PFBE) where each individual element has been deliberately crafted to fall in line with the Prince of Wales’ penchant for the traditional architectural form.
Supported with fluid artist’s impressions of the quintessentially British countryside village is a 35-page manifesto which dictates the ‘permitted’ design elements that will be allowed to future residents of the 770-house community. Under the headings ‘Urban Ingredients’ and ‘Architectural Ingredients’, the PFBE outlines the specific limitations within which the properties will be constructed and by which the future occupants must maintain their homes.
Such points include:
• Hedges shall be uniform colour and species
• Garden gates shall be built from painted timber, painted mild steel or wrought iron. All garden gate designs to be approved by PFBE
• Home names and numbers shall be kept within the front door ‘frame’. Letters shall be a maximum of 8cm high
• Lettering must be externally illuminated
• Maximum area for any single pane of glass shall be 2.0 sq m
• Street furniture shall be used sparingly, to avoid a ‘cluttered’ public realm
• Satellite television and associated services shall be provided via discretely designed and located communal dishes linked to underground distribution cabling
The media has continued to batter the project with taunts of ‘model village’ whilst heritage body the Scottish Civic Trust has been quoted stating: “We do...feel a contemporary interpretation of these traditional forms would be most appropriate, rather than slavishly copying traditional architecture.”
Knockroon is undoubtedly a bold and highly stylised architectural design, however concerns appear to stem from the idea that architecture should be pushing forward, not stepping back in terms of design and innovation. Coupled with the high demand for personalised building modifications – the apparent ‘need’ for homeowners to differentiate themselves from their neighbours – and the PFBE’s strict constraints on architectural design, it appears that Knockroon may be in for a few more doses of heavy criticism before planning permission is granted.