PRINT May 1988



THE NUMEROUS WORDS OF PRINCE CHARLES on the subject of contemporary architecture reverberate with vast existential allure. The content of his messages—the calls for populism, for contextualism, for resistance to Modernism and to Brutalism—may strike us as welcome or irritating, on target or beside the point; whatever our response, they have a resonance, which lies less in their content than in the emergence of their urgent, angry shapes from one of the symbolic centers in which architecture once received its validation—the British throne. The shapes remind us that this center was once not only symbolic. Once, the messages from within took the shape of real walls: Tudor architecture, Georgian architecture, Regency architecture, Victorian architecture, Edwardian architecture. And then the messages stopped. The center no longer had the power to validate anything but the cutting of ribbons,

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