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Britain's architects get a right royal dressing-down from Prince Charles

By Alexander MacLeodSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / June 18, 1984



London

Britain's architects are still bathing their bruises after Prince Charles gave their profession a right royal dressing-down at the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of Architects last month.

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Seated in gilt chairs and expecting 10 minutes of sweet nothings from the Prince's lips, the architects instead heard themselves accused of arrogance and a failure to satisfy the needs of the people.

Charles described an extension proposed for the National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square as ''a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.''

He dismissed a building planned for the City of London as ''yet another giant glass stump.''

In seven pages of devastating critique, Prince Charles:

* Declared that British architects are more interested in congratulating each other on their work than in serving the people.

* Likened the National Gallery extension to a ''vast municipal fire station, complete with siren tower.''

* Compared modern architects unfavorably with Sir Christopher Wren, designer of St. Paul's Cathedral, one of his favorite buildings (he was married there).