Prince of Wales to use platform to tell architects to halt 'icon' obsession

The Prince of Wales will call on architects to stop focusing on designing “iconic” buildings and instead focus on creating places that work when he addresses the RIBA tomorrow evening.

Hank Dittmar, the prince's key architectural advisor, and chief executive of the Prince's Foundation, said Prince Charles would use the controversial speech to remind architects of what he saw as their key role. Dittmar said: “The critical role architects play is as place-makers, not designers of individual buildings. Their supreme role is defining the public realm - the place where community happens.”

Dittmar was speaking the day before the prince speaks to the RIBA for the first time since his controversial “carbuncle” speech in 1984, which derided the practise of much modern architecture.

However, unlike the previous speech, which referred to the planned extension of the National Gallery, tomorrow's speech will not mention individual applications, and will not dwell on the controversy surrounding the proposed redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks.

Dittmar said: “This is not a speech about one particular scheme, and he's not going to use it as a platform to attack architects.” He added: “He'll say architecture is much more about the good ordinary than the iconic. Most of what we make doesn't need to rise to the level of icon - it's about making places that work well.”

The prince will also call for architects and developers to put communities at the heart of the planning process, and call for them to stop relying on innovation for innovation's sake.

More to come ...