Friday, 1 February 2008

Prince Charles Says NO to Caltongate

5 days to go until planning decision on Caltongate

Yesterday Prince Charles addressed a conference of architects and planners at St James’s Palace, some of what he said -

"Thus, in chasing the corporate tenant or the buy-to-let investor, we may not only be destroying our heritage, but killing the goose that lays the golden egg for we will destroy what makes our cities and towns so attractive to tourists in the process."

"There is a very real and urgent risk looming over us that in the drive to make historic cities like London and Edinburgh “world cities” in the commercial sense, we simply make them more like every other city in the world and in so doing dishonour and discredit their status, character and local distinctiveness.

In “A Vision of Britain,” I suggested that the impact of new buildings could be softened by an acceptance of the existing street rhythms and plot sizes and that the buildings in a city such as London, Edinburgh or even Bath or Ealing are the individual brushstrokes of a grand composition, which works because all the participants understood the basic rules and “grammar,” with harmony being the pleasing result.

This lesson is, I believe, still as relevant today as it was in the Enlightenment, when builders sought to remake their cities to compete on a new stage. For the past sixty years or so we have been conducting an experiment in social and environmental engineering that has gone disastrously wrong."

Corporate and residential towers are being proposed across London, and overshadowing World Heritage sites from Edinburgh to Bath – this audience will not need reminding of the fact that the World Heritage status of sites such as Edinburgh’s old city, the Tower of London and Westminster have all been challenged by U.N.E.S.C.O. due to new construction in recent years. And so they should be, as there is no point at all in having a World Heritage site unless it retains its unique integrity. There are, after all, other areas where such tall buildings could be accommodated within their own context.

"For some unaccountable reason we seem to be determined to vandalise these few remaining sites which retain the kind of human scale and timeless character that so attract people to them."

He said: 'We should surely be asking whether it is a natural prerequisite of "being modern" to display bad manners? Is it "being modern", for instance to vandalise the few remaining relatively unspoilt, beautiful areas of our cities, any more than it would be "modern" to mug defenceless elderly people? Can it not be modern to do unto others as you would have them do to you?'

Back in May 2006 A Speech Prince Charles made at The World Heritage Cities Conference

EdinburghSpeech where he said - To achieve the delivery of these principles, an essential factor is, if at all possible, to allow those who will live in the community an opportunity to participate in the planning process for, as Patrick Geddes said, "town planning. . .must be folk-planning.".

The fightback begins read here what Malcolm Fraser he of the proposed carbuncle at Caltongate to the left - on carbuncles...
says about Prince Charles speech BDOnline

see articles Guardian

Read what one architect Chipperfield thinks, in an article The shame of British Architecture
“We are a country that values money and individualism. Architecture becomes glorified property development, not valued culture. Ten storeys? Try for 20. Squeeze in more bedrooms." Article

Edinburgh is a prosperous and expanding city, developed from a small community spawned on a narrow rock to become the Capital of Scotland. From its mean beginnings - 'wretched accommodation, no comfortable houses, no soft beds' visiting French knights complained in 1341 - it went on to attract some of the world's greatest architects to design and build and shape a unique city. But over the centuries many of those fine buildings have gone. Invasion and civil strife played their part. Some simply collapsed of old age and neglect, others were swept away in the 'improvements' of the nineteenth century. Yet more fell to the developers' swathe of destruction in the twentieth century. Few were immune as much of the medieval architectural history vanished in the Old Town; Georgian Squares were attacked; Princes Street ruined; old tenements razed in huge slum clearance drives, and once familiar and much loved buildings vanished. The changing pattern of industry, social habits, health service, housing and road systems all took their toll. Not even the city wall was immune. The buildings which stood in the way of what was deemed progress are the heritage of Lost Edinburgh., and its not slowing down.