Leon Krier vs. the Pasadena Center Posted on November 19, 2009 by Larry Wilson Iconoclastic Luxembourgian urban planner and critic Leon Krier — best-known to Americans as “Prince Charles’ architect” — spoke at the Pasadena Center Monday night, weighing in against what local architect Stefanos Polyzoides, his host in town, called in an introduction “the kind of architecture that has given us entertainment rather than the human scale.” Immediately on beginning his talk, Krier declined to let relatively preservationist Pasadena off the hook: “I have visited here before, and I wondered why these awful buildings were springing up in this wonderful city and on its geography. … The major cause of this derailment is the fear of backwardness, of not being in the avant-garde. But in fact most of humanity could never be at the front lines in the battle — we would all be killed.” After drinks and dinner across the street in the Paseo Colorado after his talk, a group of us were walking along the north side of Green Street. I nodded toward the new Pasadena Convention Center buildings across the street, surrounding the Bennett & Haskell Civic Auditorium, which many have praised as at least trying to be respectful of the classic Civic, unlike the ’70s carbuncles — to use Charles’ favorite phrase about London atrocities — they replaced. Krier merely shuddered and looked away. “An abomination,” someone else said. Krier nodded. “As the last ones were replaced within 30 years, so will these be.” It’s not easy, being on the leading edge of the true avant-garde.