Prince Charles reveals 10 principles for "more mature view" of urban design

8. “We have to work out now how we will create resilient, truly sustainable and human-scale urban environments that are land-efficient, use low-carbon materials and do not depend so completely upon the car. As we face so many critical challenges in the years ahead, these approaches are crying out to be brought back   to the forefront of contemporary practice.”
Click for larger versionCharles, who is first in line for the British throne, has previously found himself at loggerheads with large swathes of the architecture industry   after sharing his opinions on architecture in public. News: the Prince of Wales has called for urbanists to “reconnect with traditional approaches” in an essay that lays out his vision for the future of architecture and planning. Harmony – the playing together of all parts. Space is at a premium, but we do not have to resort to high-rise tower blocks which alienate and isolate. However, for these places to enhance the quality of people’s lives and strengthen the bonds of community, we have to reconnect with those traditional approaches and techniques honed over thousands of years which, only in the 20th century, were seen as ‘old-fashioned’ and of no use in a progressive modern age. It is time to take a more mature view.”
The full essay will be published in the January   edition   of the Architectural Review and on the magazine’s website. Rigid, conventional planning and rules of road engineering render all the above instantly null and void, but I have found it is possible to build flexibility into schemes and I am pleased to say that many of the innovations we have tried out in the past 20 years are now reflected in national engineering guidance, such as The Manual For Streets. There is much too much concrete, plastic cladding, aluminium, glass and steel employed, which lends a place no distinctive character. My concern is the future,” begins   Prince Charles’ 2,000-word essay in the latest issue of The Architectural Review. Developments must respect the land. He also created   the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment charity to promote traditional architecture and planning – these activities are now carried out by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Communities. Richness comes from diversity, as Nature demonstrates, but there must be coherence, which is often achieved by attention to details like the style of door cases, balconies, cornices and railings.5. Related story: Prince Charles spurns demolition job in bid to build bridges with architects”All I am suggesting is that the new alone is not enough. 9. Flexibility. As well as building his Poundbury model town in Dorset, populated with Classical-style buildings, and launching a short-lived architecture magazine, he has   founded an art school dedicated to traditional styles and techniques in east London. We have to abide by the grammatical ground rules, otherwise dissonance and confusion abound. The fall out did   not prevent   him from involving himself further in architecture and planning, contributing to his   reputation as a “meddling” prince, which he acknowledged in a speech in   2011. For buildings to look as if they belong, we need to draw on local building materials and regional traditional styles. We have to be mindful of the long-term consequences   of what we construct in the public realm and, in its design, reclaim our humanity and our connection with nature, both of which, because of the corporate rather than human way in which our urban spaces have been designed, have come under increasing threat.”
“To counter this, I believe we have to revisit the learning that for   so long has been embedded in traditional approaches to design, simply because they are so rooted in our   own connection with nature’s patterns and processes. The pedestrian must be at the centre of the design process. The creation of well-designed enclosures.Rather than clusters of separate houses set at jagged angles, spaces that are bounded and enclosed by buildings are not only more visually satisfying, they encourage walking and feel safer.6. Density. We should also bury as many wires as possible and limit signage. They should not be intrusive; they should be designed to fit within the landscape they occupy.2. Architecture is a language. The prince goes   on to set out 10 “important geometric principles”   for urban masterplanning that he says aim “to mix the best of the old with the best of the new” and provide a template for designing places “according to the human scale and with nature at the heart of the process”. “We face the terrifying prospect by 2050 of another three billion people on this planet needing to be housed, and architects and urban designers have an enormous role to play in responding to this challenge,” he writes. Nothing could be further from my mind. Materials also matter. But a battle over the £3 billion   Chelsea Barracks development revealed   that he had used his influence with the Qatari royal family’s property company,   scuppering   a scheme by Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners in June 2009. Image of Prince Charles is courtesy of Shutterstock. It is often forgotten that this borough is the most densely populated one in London. I believe there are far more communal benefits from terraces and the mansion block. Not only should buildings relate to human proportions, they should correspond to the scale of the other buildings and elements around them. Click for larger version”It is time to take a more mature view” and “reconnect with traditional approaches and techniques”, says the British royal. Prince Charles’ 10 principles for masterplanning1. Too many of our towns have been spoiled by casually placed, oversized buildings of little distinction that carry no civic meaning.4. “What is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend,” said Charles. His comments   caused outrage among architects and resulted in the scrapping of the scheme, which was eventually replaced with a building by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

Updated: 22.12.2014 — 06:15