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Prince Charles’s architectural playground might not be so bad

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Poundbury, the Disneyland-like model village conceived by the Prince of Wales, is a mixed-use town that actually works

Prince Charles, next in line for the British throne, is known for holding strong views on the state of architecture. He called a planned modernist wing of the National Gallery a “monstrous carbuncle,” feuded with Robert Venturi over a PoMo column, helped design this blah nostalgic pastiche of a house, and even founded a failed magazine promoting his taste for “traditional” buildings.

In the late 1980s, Charles hired architect Leon Krier to design a real village adhering to his nostalgia-infused architectural aesthetic. Construction started in 1993. Critics have called it “fake, heartless, authoritarian and grimly cute” and “a sad simulacra.”

But behind the imitation gothic castles and Georgian facades is a thriving little town. More than 3,000 people call Poundbury home. Roughly 35 percent of the town’s 1,500 residences are leased at affordable rents, and every neighborhood is just a 5-minute walk from the “downtown.”

“For 20 years, this place has been treated as a joke, a whim of HRH,” said Poundbury architect Ben Pentreath in an interview with The Guardian. “But something quietly radical has been going on—and it’s got nothing to do with architecture.”

The village’s economy is doing well, with more than 2,000 jobs in local businesses ranging from medical clinics to a cereal factory. And home values in Poundbury are 29 percent higher than in nearby areas. Do check out the full story here.

Via: The Guardian