Prince Charles at the RIBA Annual Lecture in 2009.Source: Robert Leslie/RIBA
The Prince of Wales’ architectural charity is weighing up a plan to fill the gap left by Cabe by carrying out design reviews.
Prince’s Foundation chief executive Hank Dittmar told BD it would decide by Christmas whether to go ahead with the move.
“We’d have to talk to our network and assess the market,” he added. “”It would need to pay for itself but we wouldn’t be doing it to make money.”
He said its design review panels would have to reflect all style opinions to fend off accusations that only traditional architecture would get the thumbs-up.
Dittmar added: “To be credible, it would have to have democratic, independent judgement. We would have to have a panel that was balanced and not exclusively traditional architects.”
News the charity is eyeing a role in design review was immediately branded “an absolute disaster” by former Stirling Prize winner Will Alsop.
“The Prince’s Foundation has a definite architectural agenda,” Alsop said. “We know what it is. The Prince is not impartial at all, he would get involved and his meddling would increase.”
But Robert Adam, who sat on the Cabe design review panel for six years, said it was about time other styles were represented by design reviews.
“I was on it to provide balance but in the end [Cabe] became a huge bureaucracy where the balance had been lost and ended up peddling the established architectural view.”
The government is still speaking to Cabe about the prospects for salvaging parts of its function. The majority of Cabe’s 125 staff have now been given their redundancy notices ahead of the body’s closure next March but architecture minister John Penrose said: “We are still in discussions with Cabe about its future.”
It has emerged just a handful of bodies, including the RIBA, the Sorrell Foundation and Kevin McCloud’s development firm HAB, lobbied Penrose to spare Cabe.
RIBA director of public affairs Anna Scott-Marshall said it was also looking at ways to fund future design reviews. “We need to find ways of funding the work so we are exploring options with others about what happens next.”
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