Not a good enough Nowhere
Obviously the first reaction to the news that Prince Charles' neue Stadt is as jerry-built as the average Barratt bungalow should be one of derision and schadenfreude. Among architectural twitterers there were some who were simply amazed by the cheapness described: 'they didn't even use galvanised nails?' In the article residents describe damp, cracked walls, animal faeces, bored and aggressive youth, social atomisation...all the things which Charles Windsor, Alice Coleman and their ilk claimed were some sort of natural teleological consequence of modernist prefabrication, combined with a few wonderfully postmodernist problems like being drenched in water from a fake chimney. We have every right to be smugly unsurprised, but Poundbury is also in a sense a missed opportunity (almost) as much as it is a moronic folly, or at least it could have been an opportunity were those involved in it somehat less thick. Regardless of the sophistication or otherwise of the plan, the aesthetic of Poundbury is almost deliberately nondescript. The plan seems to be one of the culprits in the article above, but complaints about alleyways or it being 'too tight' are misunderstandings of what mad old Nazi apologist Leon Krier was actually up to here - this was not supposed to be suburbia, instead being an attempt at creating something akin to civic medieval planning, perhaps a medieval free city without all those unhappily proto-modernist skyscraping towers and belfries, Bruges rather than Barratt.
This conflicts sharply with the architecture that Charles and his builders have settled on, which is a deeply reticent neo-Georgian, or rather a form of Georgian that has had all the urbane sweep rusticated out of it. Imagine the entire scheme if its patrons were fearless Goths rather than tight-arsed, terrified Classicists, or if they were socialists rather than monarchists - if their derivation was from Ruskin and William Morris rather than christ knows whatever amalgam of Wimpey, John Nash and '80s Labour council vernacular they're taking inspiration from. For the medievalist socialists of the late 19th century, the problem with modern architecture, be it the redbrick terraces that we've since convinced ourselves are 'homely' or the prefabricated Crystal Palaces that are now re-imagined only as precursors to Norman Foster, was that the exploited labour used to produce them was so obvious in their form. This is why it's appropriate that Robert Tressel's novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, a tale of house-builders knocking up Edwardian houses on poor wages, was pivotal in (briefly) making socialists out of the English - because it revealed the misery behind the dream of the traditionalist home. The medieval city, its cathedrals and guildhalls, were the model for them not because of a liking for spikiness, but because they believed, rightly or wrongly, that this was the form that architecture took when it was a truly communal act, when masons were artists, and when there were no catalogues or architectural enforcers. 'Grecian is mathematic form, Gothic is living form'. This may have been a fantasy, but if so it's a seductive one.
The Bauhaus was initially based on this idea, of the communally built cathedral as the foundation of the socialist city - and this impulse carries on into non-International Style modernism, whether hand-prints in the concrete in Latin American Brutalism, the obsessive, freakish craftsmanship of the Amsterdam school, the irregular brickwork of Gillespie Kidd & Coia, the employment of highly skilled workers on the housing schemes of Red Vienna rather than a Taylorised 'work-force' clipping together prefabricated modules...in all of these cases, form follows the supposed pleasure of the worker. Now, the medievalists involved in Poundbury, divorced as they are from any real politics, can't conceive of such a thing. So the end result is joylessly applied drudgework, given a patina afterwards to make it look vaguely warm and lived-in. The only way I could ever imagine having anything other than contempt for this particular fantasy is if it were something truly worth fantasising about - if their medievalism was via Ruskin rather than Tolkien, if they employed skilled labourers and artists and waited to see what they came up with rather than getting Persimmons to churn out a preconceived olde-worlde. Except we don't seem to have craftsmen anymore. Which, when neither the builder nor the architect is allowed the luxury of independent thought, condemns the entire endeavour to tedium.