Le Corbusier’s famous Ronchamp chapel (1954) in France is the center of a fierce online debate, reports Building Design. Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier, and Rafael Moneo are among the 1,500 people who have signed an online petition to block Renzo Piano’s scheme for new visitor facilities and accommodations for nuns at the landmark site. The Fondation Le Corbusier in Paris initiated the petition. In response, Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), and its client, L’Association Oeuvre Notre-Dame du Haut, have launched a counter-petition—and have collected nearly 250 signatures, including those of Peter Cook, David Adjaye, and Massimiliano Fuksas, according to the article. RPBW’s Paul Vincent, the project architect, says the foundation has used “outrageous and misleading” language to incite opposition to the project. “The Internet is a war machine,” he is quoted as saying. “It can be very dangerous when used like this.”
Despite the fact he’s reportedly never been to China, Prince Charles is urging the government there to stop demolishing Beijing’s historic hutongs, the U.K.’s Guardiannewspaper reported on Thursday. As the city has grown in recent decades, many of its pre-communist residential complexes—characterized by narrow alleys and low-rise courtyard homes—have been razed. According to the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Centre, more than two-thirds of courtyard houses have been torn down since 1949. The prince has expressed particular interest in saving Da Shi Lan, a hutong near Tiananmen Square; he also is trying to persuade the government to employ the traditional layout when designing new housing, rather than erecting concrete high-rises. The prince’s spokesman told the Guardian, “It’s not about criticizing Chinese development per se, just about ensuring vulnerable heritage is not lost.” Beijing is hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, which start Aug. 8. Look for extensive coverage of Beijing architectural projects—along with an essay on hutongs—in the July issue of RECORD.