Instead of designing an extension to the elegant facade of the National Gallery which complements it and continues the concept of columns and domes, it looks as if we may be presented with a kind of municipal fire station, complete with the sort of tower that contains the siren. . . . What is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.
We need more architectural criticism like that: sharp and to the point, shockingly descriptive, in an effectively grotesque manner (if you don’t know what a carbuncle is, well, Google Images will help you out there–but the Muse warns you to avoid doing so until after you’ve eaten). The Prince’s now (in)famous Carbuncle speech served an important purpose, putting a big pin in the map at the height of enthusiasm for Post Modernism–the fact that Robert Venturi would be chosen to complete this prominent British monument still leaves us gobsmacked. But we know the Prince was not calling for that kind of winking, ironic historicizing architecture, but rather a return to the real deal: Neo-Traditionalism, which (with a significant preservation effort) he has championed with great vigor.