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Wed 8 Apr 2009 09:19 AM

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UK royal asks for Qatar support in architecture row

Modern redesign of Chelsea Barracks, part owned by Qatari Diar, is at centre of row.    

UK royal asks for Qatar support in architecture row
REDESIGN ROW: Prince Charles has written to Qatar Diar, the development arm of the Qatar royal family, to get them involved in the redesign of Londons Chelsea Barracks. (AFP)

Prince Charles has triggered a new row over his architectural views by urging Qatar's leaders to rethink a modern design for a landmark London building, reports said on Tuesday.

The heir to the British throne, who once famously lambasted plans for a London building as a "monstrous carbuncle," has this time intervened over plans for the Chelsea Barracks .

Instead of a glass-and-steel design by renowned architect Richard Rogers, Charles is pressing for a classical plan made from bricks, stone and slate, mirroring the Sir Christopher Wren-designed Royal Hospital across the road.

In a letter written last month, Charles called on Qatari Diar, the development arm of the Qatar royal family, to include them in discussions on the Chelsea Barracks site of which it is part owner, said UK daily the Daily Telegraph.

Quinlan Terry, who drew up the prince's alternative plans, said: "He told us how unhappy he was with the current proposals. He expressed a fervent desire that the scheme should reflect the stunning architecture of Wren's hospital.

"He made it clear to all of us that he was even more determined to battle over this site in order to protect and enhance this important corner of London," he said, cited by the paper.

Qatari Diar holds a majority stake in Project Blue (Guernsey) Limited, the company which bought the Chelsea Barracks site for nearly one billion pounds ($1.46bn, 1.1 billion euros).

A spokesman for Project Blue said: "We have always been aware of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales's public views on modern architecture and we have been expecting that he would favour a more traditional approach.

"Whilst our submitted scheme is modern, we share HRH's views on integrated sustainable developments and we are currently in dialogue with his representatives to explore whether we will be able to establish a mutual accord."

A spokesman for Prince Charles' Clarence House residence declined to comment on private letters written by him.

But he said: "The prince has said nothing publicly on this matter and he has not commissioned an alternative plan for the site."

In a speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1984, the Prince famously described Lord Rogers' proposed extension to the National Gallery in central London as a "monstrous carbuncle".

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