Help. Find me a modernist architectural rehab. Prince Charles gave a speech last night at the Royal Institute of British Architects, and I agree with him. Take away my licence.
The crisis in the banking and financial sector — devastating though its consequences will be for some — has at least brought to light something of the short-termist, unsustainable, and experimental nature of the way many professionals now operate in the world; a kind of surpassing cleverness in the devising of products and systems that no-one really understands. At a time when, believe it or not, we are hearing calls for a return to old-fashioned, traditional banking virtues, might these calls not apply equally to the manner in which our built environment gives physical expression to the way we do business and live our lives, as essentially social beings?
Two views of Chelsea Barracks: Lord Rogers vs Quinlan Terry
Nothing argues for a re-evaluation of our way of doing things more than the state of the planet. Some twenty years ago — shortly after I made A Vision of Britain — I made another B.B.C. film called Earth in Balance in which I interviewed the then Senator Al Gore. I don't think many people paid much attention to that film. It's amusing watching it now! His subsequent bestseller, Earth in the Balance, played an important part in framing the debate before the Kyoto Conference on climate change. At that time, I argued that a rebalancing of priorities from short- to long-term was needed and that short-term thinking was at the root of the environmental crisis. I may have thought that then — I am convinced of it now! Sustainability matters. Durability matters even more. And perhaps more than ever, it matters now; for surely it must be true that the twin crunches of credit and climate together have highlighted the dangers of the short-term view — "consume today and let someone else pay tomorrow for the throwaway society."
As over 60 per cent of our carbon emissions can be attributed to the built environment, all of us who are involved with the making of place have a great responsibility. Climatologists speak, and speak urgently, of the need to flatten the curve of rising emissions — starting now.
More on Prince Charles and Architecture:
Quote of the Day: Prince Charles on Modern "Green" Architecture ...
A Visit to Prince Charles ' Highgrove Garden