Britain is abuzz over another battle between Richard Rogers and Prince Charles, as the Pritzker Prize-winning architect has called for a public inquiry into what he calls an "unconstitutional" intervention that led to Rogers being fired from a multi-billion pound housing project in London.
On June 12, Rogers was informed by a representative of the Qatari royal family—the investors in the project—that his design services were no longer needed. Rogers had worked on the designs for more than two years—and said these plans were "one of the best schemes my office has ever produced."
Rogers believes that Prince Charles—notoriously opposed to Modern (or modern) architecture—personally asked the Qataris—royal to royal—to find another designer: "He single-handedly destroyed this project," Rogers told the Guardian newspaper in an exclusive interview.
This would be the third time that Charles has used his son-of-the-queen influence to quash a Rogers design. One of the prince’s most (in)famous quotes about architecture—"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"—came in 1987 in reference to a Rogers plan for another major rebuilding project in central London. The design was soon dropped from consideration. Prince Charles—described as "unmentionable" by British architect Peter Cook in an interview with RECORD—also worked his behind-the-scenes mojo to scuttle Rogers’ designs for the Royal Opera House, the architect contends.
Now Rogers—who has a seat in the House of Lords—is fighting back. "This sort of situation is totally unconstitutional and should never happen again … The prince does not debate, and in a democracy that is unacceptable and in fact is non-constitutional. I think he pursues these topics because he is looking for a job … I don't think he is evil per se, he is just misled."