King Charles III became the King of the United Kingdom and its realms upon the death of his mother and the longest-reigning British monarch in history, Queen Elizabeth II. Today, on September 9, 2022, King Charles III, while mourning the death of his mother, delivered his first address as King. Speaking for myself, I wish King Charles III the best of luck in his noble endeavor as he takes the throne at a difficult time for him and his family. In this post, I will look back at a colorful take on architecture from then-Prince Charles in 1987.
Charles III was the heir apparent to the British throne for the entirety of Elizabeth’s 70-year reign. This gave him plenty of time in the public eye before assuming the throne. He is known to not be a fan of some flavors of modern architecture. In the midst an architecture debate in London in 1987, Charles delivered a memorable zinger against contemporary architects (see original AP article):
You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings it didn’t replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that.
That is a magnificent quote. I laughed upon reading it for the first time 35 years after the new King delivered it. I have similar sentiments to Charles’ concerns about certain projects in London about monstrosities and other assorted abominations in New York City. However, because New York City was never subjected to German air raids, re-using Charles’ line would lack the same effect here. The 1987 Associated Press article included a somewhat less memorable, but perhaps more applicable, line from the then-Prince:
Large numbers of us in this country are fed up with being talked to and dictated by the existing planning, architectural and development establishment.
These quotes made me aware of a deficiency in hideous architecture coverage in my New Leaf Journal archives. I have complained about the terrible dining sheds in Brooklyn, but those are at least theoretically less permanent than the sorts of horrifying structures that trouble King Charles III.